James Pakootas Sentenced in U.S. District Cour
The United States Attorney's Office announced that during a federal court session in Missoula, on April 29, 2011, before U.S. District Judge Donald W. Molloy, JAMES PAKOOTAS, a 27-year-old resident of Nespelem, Washington, appeared for sentencing. PAKOOTAS was sentenced to a term of:
Prison: 60 months
Special Assessment: $100
Supervised Release: 5 years
PAKOOTAS was sentenced in connection with his guilty plea to conspiracy to distribute cocaine.
In an Offer of Proof filed by Assistant U.S. Attorney Tara J. Elliott, the government stated it would have proved at trial the following:
On February 5, 2010, law enforcement officers stopped a vehicle that was traveling on I-90 between Huson and Frenchtown. The registered owner and driver was J.R., who gave signed consent to search his vehicle. A search of the vehicle resulted in the discovery of approximately 145 grams of cocaine. The cocaine was hidden in a compartment located in the center of the rear passenger seats. PAKOOTAS was one of the two occupants of the rear seat of the vehicle.
Upon further investigation, it was determined that PAKOOTAS was involved in the distribution of cocaine from approximately November 2009 through February of 2010. Various witnesses would have testified that PAKOOTAS was responsible during this time frame for the distribution of more than 500 grams of cocaine in and around Missoula and Mineral Counties.
Because there is no parole in the federal system, the "truth in sentencing" guidelines mandate that PAKOOTAS will likely serve all of the time imposed by the court. In the federal system, PAKOOTAS does have the opportunity to earn a sentence reduction for "good behavior." However, this reduction will not exceed 15% of the overall sentence.
The investigation was conducted by the Drug Enforcement Administration.