Doran Leslie Hewitt, II Sentenced in U.S. District Court
The United States Attorney's Office announced that during a federal court session in Billings, on February 28, 2013, before Chief U.S. District Judge Richard F. Cebull, DORAN LESLIE HEWITT, II, a 32-year-old resident of Hardin, appeared for sentencing. HEWITT was sentenced to a term of:
- Prison: 25 days (time served)
- Special Assessment: $100.00
- Supervised Release: 3 years
HEWITT was sentenced in connection with his guilty plea to conspiracy to maintain drug-involved premises.
In an Offer of Proof filed by Assistant U.S. Attorney Paulette L. Stewart, the government stated it would have proved at trial the following:
Around March of 2011, law enforcement received a complaint that Ross Pattison and others were distributing marijuana to numerous people in Hardin and other places in Big Horn County. Through investigation and interviews, law enforcement determined that Pattison possessed a Montana medical marijuana card but was not listed as a caregiver because he is a convicted felon. Pattison hired HEWITT to assist with paperwork with Pattison's tax business as well as the marijuana distribution network. HEWITT also did some marijuana deliveries for Pattison.
On April 22, 2011, law enforcement executed search warrants for Pattison's Hardin residence and two pickup trucks. Law enforcement seized approximately five pounds of marijuana, approximately $124,000 in cash, digital scales, a paper grocery bag full of zip-lock bags, a methamphetamine pipe with residue, hashish, and photocopies of patient medical marijuana cards for marijuana caregivers Brandon Strecker, HEWITT, Travis Birdinground, and Jason Gierke.
On May 23, 2011, law enforcement executed a search warrant at Strecker's Hardin residence. Law enforcement seized a total of 420 marijuana plants - 112 marijuana plants in the attached garage, 239 marijuana plants in the bedroom, one plant in the living room, 68 in the greenhouse and shed. They also seized loose marijuana.
Several witnesses confirmed that Pattison would take and receive orders for marijuana and HEWITT, Gierke, and Birdinground would deliver marijuana to the buyers. Several witnesses will testify that after Pattison's house was searched, all deliveries were then made by Strecker or the others.
Birdinground confirmed that Pattison and Strecker paid Birdinground $800 every two weeks to deliver marijuana for them. Gierke confirmed that Gierke, Pattison, and Strecker were "business partners." Pattison put it all together and they grew the marijuana at Strecker's residence.
Chemists with the DEA laboratory in San Francisco tested the marijuana items submitted from the search of Strecker's residence. Some of the items were plant clippings as well as loose marijuana. The result of the analysis was that those items contained a detectable amount of marijuana, a Schedule I controlled substance.
Pattison, Birdinground, Gierke, and Strecker pled guilty to federal charges
Because there is no parole in the federal system, the "truth in sentencing" guidelines mandate that HEWITT will likely serve all of the time imposed by the court. In the federal system, HEWITT 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 a cooperative effort between the Drug Enforcement Administration and the Montana Division of Criminal Investigation - Billings.