News and Press Releases

Shaun Samson Sentenced in U.S. District Court

Thursday, December 13, 2012

The United States Attorney's Office announced that during a federal court session in Billings, on December 13, 2012, before Chief U.S. District Judge Richard F. Cebull, SHAUN SAMSON, a 26-year-old resident of Park County, appeared for sentencing. SAMSON was sentenced to a term of:

Prison: 72 months

Special Assessment: $100

Supervised Release: 3 years

SAMSON was sentenced in connection with his guilty plea to possession with intent to distribute heroin.

In an Offer of Proof filed by Assistant U.S. Attorney Bryan R. Whittaker, the government stated it would have proved at trial the following:

On January 3, 2012, SAMSON was stopped driving a 2000 GMC Yukon for speeding (80 mph in a 75 mph zone) by a Montana Highway Patrol Trooper. The stop occurred on eastbound I-90 in Park County.

During the traffic stop, the trooper noticed multiple things-including that SAMSON had multiple previous arrests for drug offenses-which raised his suspicions. The trooper asked SAMSON to accompany him to his patrol car so he could issue SAMSON written warnings for the traffic violations. After issuing SAMSON the written warnings, the trooper told SAMSON he was free to leave. The trooper paused long enough for SAMSON to acknowledge this fact by SAMSON turning and beginning to walk back to the his vehicle. The trooper then asked SAMSON if he could ask him some more questions, to which SAMSON agreed.

The trooper asked SAMSON some additional questions and asked for permission to search his vehicle. SAMSON consented to the search. The trooper initially found lighters and a tube with brown burned residue, hidden in the lining of a female's jacket which was in the vehicle. Based upon his training and experience he believed this to be drug paraphernalia. He also found additional drug paraphernalia and a substance suspected of being methamphetamine or cocaine in a makeup case. The trooper stopped the search and applied for and obtained a state search warrant for the vehicle.

A complete search of the vehicle resulted in the seizure of the following drugs: 1) approximately 682 grams of methamphetamine; 2) approximately 36 grams of suspected tar heroin; 3) approximately 67 grams of cocaine; 4) approximately 177 grams of marijuana; and 5) 31 pills (30mg each) of Oxycodone. Also seized were items indicative of distribution including a digital scale, empty zip-lock baggies, and 4 cell phones.

SAMSON was later interviewed by law enforcement in Bozeman, Montana, where he waived his Miranda rights and agreed to talk with investigators. He was represented at this meeting by his attorney. SAMSON admitted to possessing the heroin (and other drugs) and that he was transporting them to North Dakota to sell to individuals in North Dakota. He further stated he had made two previous trips to North Dakota to sell illegal narcotics.

A chemist at the DEA Western Laboratory would testify that she tested the substances found in SAMSON's vehicle. She would testify that the results of her testing showed that the substances tested positive for methamphetamine, heroin, and marijuana.

Because there is no parole in the federal system, the "truth in sentencing" guidelines mandate that SAMSON will likely serve all of the time imposed by the court. In the federal system, SAMSON does 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 a cooperative effort between the Montana Highway Patrol, the Missouri River Drug Task Force, and the Drug Enforcement Administration.



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