News and Press Releases

Derek Anthony Heft and Diane Elizabeth Walters Sentenced in U.S. District Court

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

The United States Attorney's Office announced that during a federal court session in Missoula, on October 16, 2012, before U.S. District Judge Dana L. Christensen, DEREK ANTHONY HEFT, age 27, and DIANE ELIZABETH WALTERS, age 37, residents of Kalispell, appeared for sentencing.

HEFT was sentenced to the following term in connection with his guilty pleas to conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine and possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime:

Prison: 180 months

Special Assessment: $200

Supervised Release: 5 years

WALTERS was sentenced to the following term in connection with her guilty plea to conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine:

Prison: 60 months

Special Assessment: $100

Supervised Release: 5 years

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 August of 2011, Northwest Montana Drug Task Force (NWDTF), Montana DOJ Division of Criminal Investigations (DCI) and Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) began conducting a joint investigation into the illegal methamphetamine distribution activities of DEREK ANTHONY HEFT, Brandon Torgenrud, Thomas Bell, and others.

HEFT was receiving pound quantities of methamphetamine from Thomas Bell and another individual from Washington state. On October 24, 2011, agents conducted visual surveillance in Flathead County on Bell and observed Bell meet with HEFT. Agents arrived at the meeting location and detained Bell, HEFT, as well as Diane Alsop (later identified as DIANE WALTERS), who was with HEFT in the vehicle.

During a recorded interview, HEFT advised that there was approximately 1.5 pounds of methamphetamine in the Ford Mustang that he was operating. A search of the Ford Mustang resulted in the seizure of over 700 grams of methamphetamine, several firearms, U.S. currency and cellular phones. HEFT had a loaded 9mm on his person at the time of the arrest.

HEFT was also conducting methamphetamine trafficking business with K.C. and admitted that on the night of his arrest, he traveled to K.C.'s residence and received 1/2 pound of methamphetamine. HEFT received between 4 to 8 ounces of methamphetamine on approximately 20 different occasions from K.C. and/or J.N., an employee of K.C.

During recorded interviews on October 24, 2011, and November 1, 2011, DIANE WALTERS advised agents that she is HEFT's girlfriend, and that she would accompany HEFT when he would meet with methamphetamine suppliers, which included K.C. and J.N. WALTERS was with HEFT on two separate occasions when he met K.C. to conduct methamphetamine trafficking business and was also present when HEFT met with J.N. to conduct methamphetamine trafficking business. WALTERS accompanied HEFT and Torgenrud to Las Vegas, Nevada on October 21, 2011, where they received one pound of methamphetamine and transported it back to Montana.

BELL and TORGENRUD pled guilty to federal charges and have been sentenced.

Because there is no parole in the federal system, the "truth in sentencing" guidelines mandate that they will likely serve all of the time imposed by the court. In the federal system, they do 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 conducted by ta cooperative effort between the U.S. Department of Homeland Security - Homeland Security Investigations and the Northwest Drug Task Force.



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