News and Press Releases

Ann Joy Wetzel, and Joelle Marie Jones Plead Guilty in U.S. Federal Court

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

The United States Attorney's Office announced that during a federal court session in Great Falls, on November 27, 2012, before U.S. District Judge Sam E. Haddon, ANN JOY WETZEL, age 55, a resident of Great Falls, and JOELLE MARIE JONES, age 34, a resident of Kennewick, Washington, pled guilty.

WETZEL pled guilty to possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine.

JONES pled guilty to aiding and abetting the crime of possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine.

Sentencing has been set for March 4, 2013. They are 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 were 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 Linda Reynolds was dealing methamphetamine out of her apartment in Great Falls. Based on this information, police executed a search warrant at Reynolds' apartment. Law enforcement learned Reynolds obtained methamphetamine from Joe Wetzel and ANN WETZEL, as well as Mark Kness.

According to Reynolds, Kness brought his drug dealer, identified hereafter as Z.Z., to Reynolds' apartment in the winter of 2012. Z.Z. regularly went by "Washington" in Great Falls, because he traveled from the state of Washington. Reynolds observed methamphetamine deals between Kness and Z.Z., and Kness would brag about how the methamphetamine was of great quality. Kness also introduced Joe and ANN WETZEL to Z.Z. in the summer of 2012. Kness routinely met with Z.Z. to obtain methamphetamine. He then sold the methamphetamine to Joe and ANN WETZEL, as well as other people throughout Great Falls.

On September 11, 2012, Z.Z. and Kness met at the WETZELS' home. Z.Z. provided Joe and ANN WETZEL with an ounce of methamphetamine for $1,700. Law enforcement arrested Z.Z. shortly after this deal.

Law enforcement then found Z.Z. was staying at a motel in Great Falls. Upon arrival at the motel, officers learned Z.Z. was sharing a room with JONES and their 18-month-old son. The officers observed JONES, with her infant son, attempting to leave the motel while carrying two bags. Law enforcement spoke with JONES and she stated she had received a call from a man approximately 15 minutes before officers arrived at the motel. The man told JONES to remove the bags from the motel room and place them in the trunk of the car, as well as erase all messages on her phone. JONES undertook these tasks until she was stopped by the officer in the motel lobby.

A search of Z.Z. and JONES' motel room and these bags revealed cash, cocaine, and methamphetamine, as well as a safe which contained a handgun and ammunition. Law enforcement seized over 50 grams of actual (pure) methamphetamine in their investigation.

Law enforcement contacted ANN WETZEL when she brought methamphetamine to Reynolds' house. At that time, ANN WETZEL had 26.7 grams of actual (pure) methamphetamine in her possession. She told police she purchased methamphetamine from Kness and Z.Z. on numerous occasions and also sold methamphetamine.

Reynolds, Kness, and Joe Wetzel pled guilty to federal charges.

ANN WETZEL and JONES each face possible penalties of a mandatory minimum of 5 years and could be sentenced to 40 years, a $5,000,000 fine, and 4 years supervised release.

The investigation was conducted by the Russell County Drug Task Force.



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