Ryan Gifford Blindheim Sentenced in U.S. District Cour
The United States Attorney's Office announced that during a federal court session in Missoula, on December 20, 2011, before U.S. District Judge Donald W. Molloy, RYAN GIFFORD BLINDHEIM, a 34-year-old resident of Whitefish, appeared for sentencing. He was sentenced to a term of:
Prison: 18 months
Special Assessment: $200
Supervised Release: 4 years
BLINDHEIM was sentenced in connection with his guilty plea to conspiracy to manufacture marijuana and money laundering.
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:
In approximately October of 2010, and continuing through March 14, 2011, BLINDHEIM and other individuals started and continued a marijuana grow operation in Olney.
BLINDHEIM purchased the location and assisted in transforming the building into a proper marijuana plant growing facility. During the above referenced time period, BLINDHEIM grew well over 100 marijuana plants.
On March 14, 2011, a search warrant was executed at this location and approximately 488 plants and 70 pounds of bulk marijuana were recovered by members of law enforcement.
Prior to the search, U.S. Homeland Security Investigations received information that both BLINDHEIM and Evan Corum were depositing large amounts of cash into their personal savings accounts at Whitefish Credit Union. These accounts were opened in late October and early November 2010. Cash deposits ranging from approximately $3,000 to $9,000 were routinely made in November 2010, totaling $86,850 in one month. More specifically, on November 19, 2010, Corum wired $30,000 from his account to BLINDHEIM's. On November 2, 2010, BLINDHEIM wired $18,000 and $7,000 to Glacier Bank; on November 18, 2010, BLINDHEIM wired $30,000 to Glacier Bank; and on November 19, 2010, BLINDHEIM wired $31,601.42 to Glacier Bank. These transfers were used as a down payment on the purchase of the property located In Olney.
When questioned, BLINDHEIM admitted to members of law enforcement the facts as stated above. Additionally, BLINDHEIM admitted that the money that was the basis for all the above transactions was money illegally obtained through the manufacture and distribution of marijuana.
Corum pled guilty to federal charges and has been sentenced.
Because there is no parole in the federal system, the "truth in sentencing" guidelines mandate that BLINDHEIM will likely serve all of the time imposed by the court. In the federal system, BLINDHEIM 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 a cooperative effort between the U.S. Homeland Security Investigations, the Northwest Montana Drug Task Force, and the Criminal Investigation Division of the Internal Revenue Service.