News and Press Releases

Jason David Burns Pleads Guilty in U.S. Federal Cour

Friday, September 23, 2011

The United States Attorney's Office announced that during a federal court session in Helena, on September 23, 2011, before Senior U.S. District Judge Charles C. Lovell, JASON DAVID BURNS, a 40-year-old resident of Helena, pled guilty to manufacture of marijuana and money laundering. Sentencing has been set for December 15, 2011. He is currently released on special conditions.

The government stated it would have proved at trial the following:

From the fall of 2009 until March 14, 2011, BURNS grew marijuana in Helena with his co-defendants.

During July 2010, law enforcement counted more than 750 marijuana plants grown by BURNS and his co-defendants at their marijuana grow site located north of Helena. The 750 count did not include approximately 350 marijuana clones.

During the investigation, law enforcement determined that BURNS and his co-conspirators obtained money from the sale of marijuana. BURNS had a bank account at Mountain West Bank. BURNS knew the money was from the sale of marijuana. BURNS deposited the money made from the sale of the marijuana into the bank account at Mountain West Bank. BURNS then used the money he deposited from marijuana sales to promote the continuing marijuana grow as well as a marijuana distribution center in Helena.

On March 14, 2011, law enforcement executed a search warrant regarding BURNS' marijuana cultivation. At that time, there were no live marijuana plants at the marijuana grow location north of Helena.

Law enforcement did remove marijuana and marijuana products from BURNS' marijuana distribution site in Helena on March 14, 2011.

The DEA laboratory tested some of the substances recovered from this investigation. The result of the testing was that the DEA laboratory confirmed that items seized from BURNS on March 14, 2011, did contain marijuana.

BURNS faces possible penalties of a mandatory minimum of 5 years in prison and could be sentenced to 40 years, a $2,000,000 fine and at least 4 years supervised release.

Assistant U.S. Attorneys Paulette L. Stewart, Jessica T. Fehr, and Michael T. Wolfe are prosecuting the case for the government.

The investigation was a cooperative effort between the following federal, state and local law enforcement agencies: the Drug Enforcement Administration, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's Homeland Security Investigations, the Criminal Investigation Division of the Internal Revenue Service, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the Environmental Protection Agency-Criminal Investigation Division, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. These federal agencies were assisted by the Montana Division of Criminal Investigations, and local High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area task forces, the Central Montana Drug Task Force, the Missouri River Drug Task Force, the Helena Police Department, and the Lewis & Clark Sheriff's Office.



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