Big Timber Woman Sentenced In Bakken Drug Trafficking Case
The United States Attorney's Office announced that KERA EVANS, 30, of Big Timber, was sentenced to a term of 96 months imprisonment, five years supervised release, and a special assessment of $100 during a federal court hearing in Billings, Montana, on May 14, 2014, before U.S. District Judge Susan Watters.
EVANS was sentenced in connection with her November 22, 2013, guilty plea to the crime of possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine. The prosecution was part of "Project Safe Bakken," an effort by led by the United States Attorneys for Montana and North Dakota, the Attorneys General for Montana and North Dakota, and a host of federal, state, local, and tribal law enforcement agencies to provide a systematic response to serious crime, including drug trafficking, in the Bakken Region. In EVANS' case the investigation was led by the Montana Division of Criminal Investigations (MDCI), the United States Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), the Sidney Police Department, and the Sweet Grass County Sheriff's Department as part of a long term investigation.
In an offer of proof, Assistant U.S. Attorney Joseph Thaggard stated the government would have proved that EVANS was a significant player in a methamphetamine distribution ring that transported large amounts of almost completely pure methamphetamine from the State of Washington to Montana. Thaggard further stated that much of the methamphetamine was then primarily distributed in the Bakken Region of Northeastern Montana and Western North Dakota, including Sidney and Fairview.
The District Court sentenced Evans to 96 months of imprisonment, with five years of supervised release to follow. Because there is no parole in the federal system, the truth in sentencing guidelines mandate that EVANS will likely serve all of the time imposed by the court. In the federal system, EVANS does have the opportunity to shorten the term of custody by earning credit for good behavior. However, this reduction will not exceed 15% of the overall sentence.
U.S. Attorney Mike Cotter said the sentence reflects the seriousness of the crime and underscores the need to protect Montanans from methamphetamine trafficking and organized crime. "Methamphetamine trafficking presents a serious threat to the health and safety of our community, particularly the Bakken Region. The investigation and prosecution in this case demonstrate that all levels of law enforcement in Montana and North Dakota take that threat seriously and will seek to ensure those who engage in drug trafficking are held accountable for their crimes."