Mark Kness Pleads Guilty in U.S. Federal Court
The United States Attorney's Office announced that during a federal court session in Great Falls, on November 19, 2012, before U.S. District Judge Sam E. Haddon, MARK KNESS, a 54-year-old resident of Great Falls, pled guilty to conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute methamphetamine. Sentencing has been set for February 25, 2013. He is currently detained.
In an Offer of Proof filed by Assistant U.S. Attorney Jessica A. Betley, the government stated it would have proved at trial the following:
In July 2012, detectives from the Great Falls Police Department became alerted to a potential methamphetamine distribution ring in Great Falls. Detectives believed the methamphetamine was being brought to Montana from somewhere near Spokane, Washington.
On September 6, 2012, police received information from an anonymous caller, who stated S.S. was dealing methamphetamine out of her apartment in Great Falls. Based on this information, police executed a search warrant at S.S.'s apartment. Law enforcement learned S.S. obtained methamphetamine from T.T. and V.V., as well as KNESS.
According to S.S., KNESS brought his drug dealer, Z.Z., to S.S.'s apartment in the winter of 2012. Z.Z. regularly went by "Washington" in Great Falls, because he traveled from the state of Washington. S.S. observed methamphetamine deals between KNESS and Z.Z., and KNESS would brag about how the methamphetamine was of great quality. KNESS also introduced T.T. and V.V. to Z.Z. in the summer of 2012. KNESS routinely met with Z.Z. to obtain methamphetamine. He then sold the methamphetamine to T.T. and V.V., as well as other people throughout Great Falls. Law enforcement seized over 50 grams of actual (pure) methamphetamine in their investigation.
KNESS 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 conducted by the Russell County Drug Task Force.