News and Press Releases

Adam Paul Cleff Pleads Guilty in U.S. Federal Cour

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

The United States Attorney's Office announced that during a federal court session in Missoula, on August 9, 2011, before U.S. District Judge Donald W. Molloy, ADAM PAUL CLEFF, a 54-year-old resident of Potter Valley, California, pled guilty to distribution of marijuana. Sentencing has been set for November 10, 2011. He is currently released on special conditions.

In an Offer of Proof filed by Assistant U.S. Attorney Timothy J. Racicot, the government stated it would have proved at trial the following:

In August 2010, the Missouri River Drug Task Force and the FBI received the following information from a confidential informant ("CI"): (1) an individual in Bozeman who owned a medical marijuana dispensary was conspiring with people in California to transport marijuana to Montana; (2) the marijuana brought from California was sold by the dispensary owner to medical marijuana patients; (3) the dispensary owner paid between $3,000 and $3,200 for each pound of marijuana; (4) the dispensary owner made a profit of approximately $1,000 per pound; (5) the dispensary owner was not paying taxes on the income derived from the sales of marijuana; (6) CLEFF was one of the sources of the California marijuana; and (7) CLEFF personally transported marijuana from California to Bozeman and distributed the drugs to the dispensary owner.

Based on the CI's information, law enforcement initiated an investigation into the dispensary owner and CLEFF. The officers interviewed witnesses and reviewed financial documents for the dispensary owner and CLEFF and uncovered evidence that corroborated the CI's story, including bank records that showed substantial sums of money being paid by the dispensary owner to CLEFF. Based on the sums of money involved and the prices relayed by the informant, the officers deduced that CLEFF distributed approximately 85 pounds (37 kilograms) of marijuana to the dispensary owner. Based on witness statements, the amount of marijuana distributed by CLEFF could have been as much as 342 pounds (155 kilograms).

In October 2010, the investigating agents attempted to arrange a controlled delivery of marijuana from CLEFF to the dispensary owner. Before he would transport any marijuana to Montana, CLEFF demanded a payment of $12,000, which represented part of a debt due and owing by the dispensary owner. Law enforcement officers wired $12,000 to CLEFF on October 27, 2010, and asked CLEFF to bring some marijuana to Bozeman. But CLEFF refused and asked to be paid an additional sum of money, which he was still owed by the dispensary owner. The officers refused and instead seized the original $12,000 from CLEFF's bank account in California.

CLEFF faces possible penalties of 20 years in prison, a $1,000,000 fine and 3 years supervised release.

The investigation was a cooperative effort between the Missouri River Drug Task Force and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

A copy of the Offer of Proof can be obtained by contacting Sally Frank at (406) 247-4638.



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