Leroy Melvin Smith, Jr., Pleads Guilty in U.S. Federal Court
The United States Attorney's Office announced that during a federal court session in Billings, on July 11, 2012, before Chief U.S. District Judge Richard F. Cebull, LEROY MELVIN SMITH, JR., a 59-year-old resident of Hardin, pled guilty to conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine and distribution of methamphetamine. Sentencing has been set for October 11, 2012. He is currently detained.
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:
SMITH came to the attention of law enforcement in approximately 2007 in Big Horn County and on the Crow and Northern Cheyenne Reservations as it was common knowledge that he was a distributor of methamphetamine believed to be getting his supply from Billings. An individual gave law enforcement information about methamphetamine dealings with SMITH from 2008 through June of 2010. Several confidential informants also provided information on SMITH's distribution of methamphetamine, from 2007 to the present, as well as their further distribution of that methamphetamine.
On June 10, 2011, in Big Horn County, a controlled purchase of 1/8 ounce of methamphetamine for $400 from SMITH was made. Law enforcement also received information that SMITH was dealing with another individual. On October 13, 2011, the two met at a parking lot in Hardin where SMITH sold the individual 3.5 grams of methamphetamine. That person was stopped a short time later and the drugs recovered. On October 25, 2011, law enforcement received information that SMITH and his source were meeting for an exchange of money and methamphetamine. The two met on I-90 in Big Horn County and SMITH was stopped by Montana Highway Patrol after the exchange. In a consent search, SMITH turned over one ounce of methamphetamine that he had just purchased from his source. SMITH spoke with law enforcement the next day and admitted his role in the methamphetamine distribution conspiracy. More than 500 grams of methamphetamine was foreseeable within the conspiracy.
SMITH faces possible penalties of a mandatory minimum of 10 years in prison and could be sentenced to life, a $4,000,000 fine, and 5 years supervised release.
The investigation was a cooperative effort between the Montana Division of Criminal Investigation, the Drug Enforcement Administration, and the Bureau of Indian Affairs.