Billings man sentenced to 15 years for meth, firearms
BILLINGS—Billings resident Joshua Jock Clause who admitted to trafficking large amounts of methamphetamine and to possessing firearms was sentenced today to 15 years in prison and to five years of supervised release, U.S. Attorney Kurt Alme said.
Clause, 36, pleaded guilty in November to possession with intent to distribute meth and to possession of a firearm during a drug trafficking crime.
U.S. District Judge Susan P. Watters presided.
A meth investigation beginning in June 2018 led to Clause as a person who was importing large amounts of meth to the Billings area from a California source. Prosecution evidence said an arrest warrant was issued for Clause and law enforcement surveilled his residence. The Billings Police officers pulled over Clause and arrested him on his federal warrant. Officers found he had cash and a cell phone. Agents also executed a search warrant of Clause’s residence and found $17,000 cash, an SKS rifle and a handgun. Officers also found evidence that occupants had been trying to dispose of meth down the toilet.
A confidential informant told agents a few days later that, following Clause’s instruction from jail, the informant went to the house and located about 12 pounds of meth in a cooler outside of the residence that officers had missed during their search. The meth was taken to another person. Twelve pounds of meth is the equivalent of about 43,488 doses.
Another informant admitted to receiving 20 pounds, which is the equivalent of about 72,488 doses, of meth directly from Clause and said that Clause had multiple people selling drugs for him.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Colin Rubich prosecuted the case, which was investigated by the Eastern Montana High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area Task Force, the Drug Enforcement Administration, FBI and Billings Police Department.
The case is part of Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN), which is the centerpiece of the Department of Justice’s violent crime reduction efforts. PSN is an evidence-based program proven to be effective at reducing violent crime. Through PSN, a broad spectrum of stakeholders work together to identify the most pressing violent crime problems in the community and develop comprehensive solutions to address them. As part of this strategy, PSN focuses enforcement efforts on the most violent offenders and partners with locally based prevention and reentry programs for lasting reductions in crime.