News and Press Releases

Melissa Ann Dunning Sentenced in U.S. District Cour

Thursday, January 05, 2012

The United States Attorney's Office announced that during a federal court session in Billings, on January 5, 2012, before Chief U.S. District Judge Richard F. Cebull, MELISSA ANN DUNNING, a 35-year-old resident of Billings, appeared for sentencing. DUNNING was sentenced to a term of:

Prison: 94 months

Special Assessment: $100

Supervised Release: 5 years

DUNNING was sentenced in connection with her guilty plea to conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine.

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:

Beginning in approximately January of 2008, and continuing until April of 2010, DUNNING and other individuals distributed in excess of 500 grams of methamphetamine throughout Yellowstone County.

Specifically, the evidence would have included testimony from an individual, identified here as "XX", that s/he received approximately 11 ounces of methamphetamine from DUNNING during the above stated time period.

When interviewed, DUNNING admitted that she was involved in the distribution of approximately 244 ounces of methamphetamine starting in the fall of 2008 and continuing through approximately April of 2010. DUNNING admitted that, of that amount, approximately 180 ounces were distributed to "XX" and that she introduced "XX" to her (DUNNING's) source of supply so that "XX" could continue to obtain methamphetamine for distribution to "XX's" customers.

Because there is no parole in the federal system, the "truth in sentencing" guidelines mandate that DUNNING will likely serve all of the time imposed by the court. In the federal system, DUNNING 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 Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Billings Big Sky Safe Streets Task Force.



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