Informational: Federal Court Arraignment
The United States Attorney's Office announced that during a federal court session in Missoula, on August 2, 2011, before U.S. Magistrate Judge Jeremiah C. Lynch, the following individual was arraigned:
RYAN GIFFORD BLINDHEIM, a 35-year-old resident of Whitefish, appeared on charges of conspiracy to manufacture marijuana; conspiracy to distribute marijuana; possession with the intent to distribute marijuana; conspiracy to launder monetary instruments, and money laundering. He is currently released on special conditions. If convicted of these charges, BLINDHEIM faces possible penalties of a mandatory minimum of 5 years in prison and could be sentenced to 40 years, a $5,000,000 fine and at least 4 years supervised release.
Today's indictment is a result of an ongoing investigation of alleged illegal marijuana distribution in Montana being conducted by the following federal, state and local law enforcement agencies: the Drug Enforcement Administration, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's Homeland Security Investigations, Criminal Investigation Division of the Internal Revenue Service, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Environmental Protection Agency-Criminal Investigation Division, U.S. Customs and Border Protection-Border Patrol, and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. These federal agencies were assisted by the Montana Division of Criminal Investigations, and local High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area task forces, the Northwest Drug Task Force, the Kalispell Police Department, the Flathead County Sheriff's Office, the Missoula Police Department, the Missoula County Sheriff's Office, the Missoula High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA) Task Force, the Great Falls Police Department, the Cascade County Sheriff's Office, the Central Montana Drug Task Force, the Billings Police Department, the Yellowstone County Sheriff's Office, the Eastern Montana High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA) Task Force, the Dillon Police Department, the Beaverhead County Sheriff's Office, the Park County Sheriff's Office, the Bozeman Police Department, the Gallatin County Sheriff's Office, the Missouri River Drug Task Force, the Helena Police Department, the Lewis & Clark Sheriff's Office, and the Eastern Montana Drug Task Force - Miles City. For more information about federal marijuana laws please visit the DEA website at http://www.justice.gov/dea/concern/marijuana.html.
Assistant U.S. Attorneys Tara J. Elliott and Timothy J. Racicot are prosecuting the case on behalf of the United States.
The defendant pled not guilty to the charges.
The charge, an indictment, information or complaint, is merely an accusation and all persons named as defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty. A pre-trial conference and a trial date will be set and the United States will be required to prove the allegations set forth in the indictment beyond a reasonable doubt.