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Press Release

Billings man sentenced to 25 years in prison for role in large-scale drug trafficking conspiracy based on Crow Indian Reservation

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, District of Montana

BILLINGS  — A Billings man who admitted to trafficking methamphetamine and a firearms crime as part of large-scale conspiracy in which he obtained pounds of the drug from properties on the Crow Indian Reservation for distribution in the Northern Cheyenne Indian Reservation and Billings communities was sentenced on Jan. 11 to 25 years in prison, to be followed by eight years of supervised release, U.S. Attorney Jesse Laslovich said today.

Roderick Plentyhawk, 38, pleaded guilty in September 2023 to possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine and prohibited person in possession of a firearm.

U.S. District Judge Susan P. Watters presided.

“Plentyhawk was among the top drug dealers in this extensive drug conspiracy and worked with out-of-state traffickers in Washington with connections to one of Mexico’s cartels to bring this highly-addictive poison to two Montana Indian reservations and the Billings community. He dealt in large, pound quantities and carried guns for protection. He belongs in federal prison, which is exactly where he will be for the next quarter century. I am proud of the extraordinary work of our prosecutors and law enforcement partners in pursuing and shutting down this far-ranging conspiracy,” U.S. Attorney Laslovich said.

The government alleged in court documents and in court that federal law enforcement, in a collaborative effort with local and tribal law enforcement, investigated a large-scale, multiple-state narcotics trafficking organization that was centered on multiple properties on the Crow Indian Reservation. The properties, including one known as Spear Siding, were a source of supply of meth for both the Crow and Northern Cheyenne Reservations and the Billings community from about January 2022 to March 2023. Plentyhawk is one of approximately two dozen defendants charged in the conspiracy and was one of the main individuals affiliated with the investigation.

 Plentyhawk would receive meth from the Crow Reservation locations and redistribute it in the Northern Cheyenne and Billings communities. He also provided meth to other drug dealers, including to some co-conspirators. In addition, investigators obtained meth from Plentyhawk in controlled purchases. The investigation determined that Plentyhawk was selling significant amounts of meth and was indebted to a main source of supply for somewhere between $20,000 to $30,000, which is the equivalent of approximately four to five pounds of meth. Plentyhawk was directly involved with the most major players in the conspiracy, including those who were bringing drugs from Washington to Spear Siding. Proceeds from the drugs went to Washington and eventually to Mexico. The government further alleged that Plentyhawk went to Spear Siding nine to 10 times, purchased pound quantities and carried guns in his backpack.

When federal law enforcement officers arrested Plentyhawk on March 29, 2023 following a high-speed chase in Billings, Plentyhawk had a stolen, loaded 9mm pistol on his person. Plentyhawk had a previous felony conviction and was prohibited from possessing firearms.