Lynda French Pleads Guilty in U.S. Federal Cour
The United States Attorney's Office announced that during a federal court session in Missoula, on June 6, 2012, before U.S. District Judge Dana L. Christensen, LYNDA FRENCH, a 52-year-old resident of Columbus, pled guilty to possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine. Sentencing has been set for September 12, 2012. She is currently detained.
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:
On June 17, 2011, an officer from the Montana Highway Patrol told a detective with the Missouri River Drug Task Force that FRENCH was suspected to be transporting methamphetamine to Bozeman on a commercial flight from Phoenix, Arizona. Based on the information received from the Highway Patrol, the detective went to the Bozeman airport and saw FRENCH in the baggage claim area with three small children, her purse, and two small duffel bags.
The detective approached FRENCH and proceeded to interview her about her trip and his suspicions that she was in possession of illegal drugs. He told FRENCH that she was free to leave at any time and was not under arrest. FRENCH denied being in possession of meth and consented to a search of the luggage, but not her purse. After some additional conversation with the detective, FRENCH admitted to having a "personal use" amount of meth in her purse. She added that "personal use" meant about three "8-balls," and described how she acquired the drugs in Arizona.
FRENCH eventually allowed the detective to remove the meth from her purse. The drugs were analyzed by a DEA chemist, who concluded that FRENCH had possessed 25.5 grams of actual methamphetamine.
FRENCH faces possible penalties of a minimum mandatory 5 years in prison up to 40 years in prison, a $5,000,000 fine and at least 4 years supervised release.
The investigation was conducted by the Missouri River Drug Task Force.