Brandy Sue Burkowski Pleads Guilty in U.S. Federal Court
The United States Attorney's Office announced that during a federal court session in Missoula, on July 10, 2012, before U.S. Magistrate Judge Jeremiah C. Lynch, BRANDY SUE BURKOWSKI, a 26-year-old resident of Trego, pled guilty to conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine. Sentencing has been set for October 12, 2012.
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 March of 2011, law enforcement agents received reliable information that BURKOWSKI and Lucas Brager of Kalispell were trafficking pound quantities of methamphetamine from the state of California to Flathead County.
In August of 2011, agents with the Northwest Montana Drug Task Force (NWDTF), the Montana DOJ Division of Criminal Investigations (DCI) and Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) began conducting a joint investigation into the illegal methamphetamine distribution activities of Brager, BURKOWSKI, and others.
On August 17, 2011, agents received a search warrant for a Ford truck that was registered to Brandon Torgenrud. The vehicle was seized during a burglary investigation. Brager, BURKOWSKI, and J.G. were suspects in the burglary and were located in the vehicle when the truck was stopped by deputies. During the search of the vehicle, agents located methamphetamine and suspected heroine. Three firearms were also located in the vehicle.
On August 22, 2011, when interviewed, BURKOWSKI admitted that she and another individual had made several trips to California and secured pound quantities of methamphetamine from K.C. and brought it back to Flathead County for distribution. BURKOWSKI said she was originally dealing methamphetamine to Derek Heft, but now, she received methamphetamine from Heft.
BURKOWSKI also admitted that she received and distributed approximately 2 pounds of methamphetamine every other week in and around Flathead County. BURKOWSKI traveled to Casper, Wyoming once a week and received 20 ounces of methamphetamine per week for approximately 2 years.
On October 31, 2011, when interviewed, Brager stated that he was employed by K.C., Derek Heft and Brandon Torgenrud as muscle to assist in collecting drug debts from methamphetamine distributors and customers. Brager met K.C. through BURKOWSKI. Brager admitted receiving quantities of methamphetamine from K.C. Brager often worked for K.C. to collect the drug debt from Heft for the previously fronted methamphetamine. Brager stated that often Heft would deposit large sums of U.S. currency into Wells Fargo bank accounts in the state of Montana at the direction of K.C. Brager said he was paid approximately 35-50 percent of what he was able to collect for the methamphetamine traffickers. Brager was paid in methamphetamine, U.S. currency or merchandise.
Brager, Heft, and Torgenrud pled guilty to federal charges and are awaiting sentencing.
BURKOWSKI faces possible penalties of a mandatory minimum of 10 years in prison and could be sentenced to life, a $10,000,000 fine, and 5 years supervised release .
The investigation was a cooperative effort between the U.S. Department of Homeland Security - Homeland Security Investigations, the Montana Division of Criminal Investigation, and the Northwest Montana Drug Task Force.