News and Press Releases

William Ray Nelson Sentenced in U.S. District Cour

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

The United States Attorney's Office announced that during a federal court session in Billings, on March 14, 2012, before Chief U.S. District Judge Richard F. Cebull, WILLIAM RAY NELSON, a 57-year-old resident of Truckee, California, appeared for sentencing. NELSON was sentenced to a term of:

Prison: 37 months

Special Assessment: $100

Supervised Release: 6 years

NELSON was sentenced in connection with his guilty plea to conspiracy to distribute heroin.

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

On August 10, 2010, the United States Postal Service (USPS) intercepted a parcel from Reno, Nevada that was headed to Billings. A search warrant was obtained to allow entry into the package. Investigators found a DVD case which contained some tissue paper and 24 small balloons inside the package. One of the balloons tested positive for heroin. Twelve balloons were removed from the package and 12 balloons were placed back in the package for a controlled delivery. The address for the delivery was a residence in Billings. A search warrant for the address was then obtained.

On August 11, 2010, the package was delivered to the residence. Following the delivery, the search warrant was executed. The recipient, hereafter referred to as "XX", was present at the residence and agreed to talk with investigators about the package.

While executing the search warrant, a 2003 Chrysler 300 drove by the residence. Detectives stopped the vehicle and identified the occupants. One of the occupants subsequently agreed to speak with investigators.

XX" admitted to purchasing heroin from NELSON, who resided in Reno, Nevada. He stated NELSON sent the heroin to him and his friend, one of the occupants of the vehicle that was stopped (hereafter referred to as "ZZ"), through the U.S. Mail. According to "XX", NELSON sent heroin in the mail to him approximately 10 to 15 times.

XX" also admitted to sending NELSON money (payment for the heroin) through MoneyGram. He would "front" the money to NELSON, obtain the heroin, then "ZZ" would owe him payment for the heroin.

XX" said when the packages arrived at his residence, he and "ZZ" would open the packages and immediately use some of the heroin. The heroin that was left was split 50/50 between them. "XX" also admitted selling some of the heroin he obtained.

When interviewed, "ZZ" admitted to traveling to the residence to pick up heroin that was delivered. He said he and "XX" were splitting the heroin that had just arrived. He believed 24 balloons of heroin were to be delivered. Each balloon was to have 1/10 of a gram of heroin contained inside. He said the 24 balloons cost $300.

ZZ" said he bought the heroin from NELSON. He had met NELSON in California and provided investigators telephone numbers for NELSON.

ZZ" said he could sell each of the 1/10 gram of heroin for $60 in Billings. He admitted to selling the heroin on occasion but to usually using the heroin himself.

ZZ" also stated he and "XX" were receiving two to three packages of heroin per week. "XX" usually paid for the heroin by wiring money to NELSON. They would wire the money to NELSON before NELSON sent the heroin.

According to "ZZ", when in Reno, he purchased heroin daily from NELSON for almost a year.

On August 13, 2010, investigators again met with "ZZ" and he agreed to text and make a telephone call to NELSON. He made the call, confirmed that he had received the package, and it was agreed by "ZZ" and NELSON that "ZZ" would call NELSON at a later date to purchase more heroin.

On August 17, 2010, "ZZ", now a CI, called NELSON and ordered $300 worth of heroin. "ZZ", at the direction of law enforcement and using HIDTA funds, wired money to NELSON for the heroin.

On August 18, 2010, the package arrived from NELSON via U.S. Mail. Again, the heroin was contained in 24 small balloons, further contained in a DVD case. The heroin was field tested and tested positive for heroin.

On August 19, 2010, "ZZ" again contacted NELSON by telephone and ordered $300 worth of heroin. On this occasion, NELSON requested "ZZ" send $320 instead of $300. "ZZ", at the direction and control of law enforcement and using HIDTA funds, again wired money to NELSON via MoneyGram.

On August 20, 2010, the package arrived from NELSON via U.S. Mail. The heroin was contained in 25 balloons, further contained in a DVD case. NELSON also returned $25 of the $320 sent to him by "ZZ".

Working again with law enforcement, "ZZ" ordered a half ounce of heroin ($1,000) from NELSON on September 4, 2010. On September 4, 2010, NELSON sent heroin to "ZZ" and it was received by the USPS in Billings on September 7, 2010.

On September 20, 2010, "ZZ" ordered $2,000 worth of heroin from NELSON. "ZZ", working under the control of law enforcement and using DEA funds, wired money to NELSON. NELSON then immediately sent the heroin via U.S. Mail. The package was received by law enforcement on September 21, 2010. The heroin was contained in a plastic baggie, further contained in a t-shirt. NELSON conspired with several people to distribute heroin in the Billings area.

The investigation was was a cooperative effort between the Drug Enforcement Administration and the High Intensity Drug Trafficking Task Force.



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