California man admits armed fentanyl trafficking in Great Falls area
GREAT FALLS — A California man suspected of armed fentanyl trafficking in the Great Falls area admitted to charges today, U.S. Attorney Jesse Laslovich said.
Casey Louis Ream, 37, pleaded guilty to possession with intent to distribute fentanyl and to prohibited person in possession of a firearm. Ream faces a maximum of 20 years in prison, a $1 million fine and at least three years of supervised release.
Chief U.S. District Judge Brian M. Morris presided. The court will determine any sentence after considering the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors. Sentencing was set for Aug. 17. Ream was detained pending further proceedings.
In court documents, the government alleged that in October 2022, Russell Country Drug Task Force agents in Great Falls were investigating Ream for armed fentanyl trafficking. Ream was arrested in his vehicle and had several fentanyl pills on his person and more pills were visible in the area where he had been sitting. Officers served a search warrant on the vehicle and located a bundle of more than $6,000 in cash and a lock box that contained several thousand fentanyl pills and multiple rounds of ammunition. In a search of a house where Ream had been staying, officers found an AK-style rifle with a high-capacity magazine that had been reported stolen out of Washington state and three 9mm pistols. In later interviews, Ream admitted to owning the firearms seized from the house and that he was felon. Ream further admitted he had brought large quantities of fentanyl pills to sell. Ream has several felony convictions and is prohibited from possessing firearms.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Ethan R. Plaut is prosecuting the case, which was investigated by the Russell Country Drug Task Force, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, Great Falls Police Department, Cascade County Sheriff’s Office and Homeland Security Investigations.
This case is part of Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN), a program bringing together all levels of law enforcement and the communities they serve to reduce violent crime and gun violence, and to make our neighborhoods safer for everyone. On May 26, 2021, the Department launched a violent crime reduction strategy strengthening PSN based on these core principles: fostering trust and legitimacy in our communities, supporting community-based organizations that help prevent violence from occurring in the first place, setting focused and strategic enforcement priorities, and measuring the results.
Clair Johnson Howard
Public Affairs Officer