DAVID TRINE SENTENCED FOR OPERATING METHAMPHETAMINE LAB IN GREAT FALLS
The United States Attorney's Office announced that during a federal court session in Great Falls, on January 17, 2014, before U.S. District Judge Brian M. Morris, David Edmond Trine, 37, of Great Falls, was sentenced to a term of 124 years imprisonment, four years supervised release, and a special assessment of $100. Trine was sentenced in connection with his October 16, 2013, guilty plea to Conspiracy to Manufacture Methamphetamine.
In an Offer of Proof filed by Assistant U.S. Attorney Jessica Betley, the government stated it would have proved that on October 7, 2012, law enforcement became alerted that Trine and Robert Spargur were manufacturing methamphetamine in Great Falls, Montana. Police arrived at Spargur's house. They immediately saw a plastic bottle in the garbage can that had a crystalized substance in it, which appeared to be consistent with methamphetamine.
At that point, a female came out of the front of the house. She told police there was an active methamphetamine lab in the house and that the defendant was in the back room. Another female told police the defendant would not come out, because he was not ready to go to jail. She kept yelling back at the house, "honey, please come out." At that point, officers called in the High Risk Unit, narcotics detectives, and the Great Falls Fire and Rescue Hazardous materials response team, as law enforcement had information that there was an active methamphetamine lab inside the house and Trine was refusing to come outside.
Other witnesses said they saw torn tubing and torn apart batteries in the closet and office area, as well as empty pseudoephedrine boxes inside the house and more methamphetamine lab related items around the house. According to one witness, both Trine and Spargur took turns making the methamphetamine. The witness knew the defendant and Spargur were planning on making methamphetamine that night because they would not allow her in the house earlier in the evening. She went in the house later that night and saw all of the materials had been moved to the garage. There were also big zip lock bags with pseudoephedrine boxes inside of them.
Trine ultimately came out of the house at 5:55 a.m. When law enforcement entered the house using protective gear, they found numerous items associated with making methamphetamine. Officers located a clear bottle filled with blue liquid labeled "white rice" in the southeast bedroom. There were coffee filters on a chair in the southwest bedroom. Upstairs, officers found numerous bottles containing an unknown substance consistent with "one pot" methamphetamine manufacturing. There was also an air filter mask in the closet.
Trine ultimately told police there was a ton of methamphetamine being made at Spargur's house. He said he did not cook the methamphetamine, but assisted Spargur by buying the pills and chemicals necessary to manufacture methamphetamine. Trine bought fertilizer, lye, Coleman fuel, pills, and batteries for the methamphetamine production. He said the granular substance found in the bottles around the house was fertilizer.
Trine further explained that in the past two to three months he had been living with Spargur, and they had produced a batch of methamphetamine per day. Two to four boxes of pseudoephedrine produced approximately one-fourth of an ounce of methamphetamine. He received half of the methamphetamine produced from each batch. Trine also mentioned that both himself and Spargur received pseudoephedrine from numerous people.
Law enforcement collected the bottles and coffee filters from Spargur's home and sent the evidence to the Montana State Crime Lab. The crime lab concluded that the items contained methamphetamine. Ultimately, the defendant conspired to manufacture at least 50 or more grams of a substance containing a detectable amount of methamphetamine. This investigation was a joint effort of the Great Falls Police Department and Russell Country Drug Task Force.