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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
District of Montana

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, May 21, 2020

California man admits to trafficking crime for meth found hidden in peanut butter, piñata

GREAT FALLS – A California man admitted to a drug distribution charge today after investigators found almost two pounds of methamphetamine hidden in a peanut butter jar and a piñata that were bound for the Fort Peck Indian Reservation, U.S. Attorney Kurt Alme said.

Don Fred Baldwin, 47, of Merced, CA, pleaded guilty to distribution of meth. Baldwin faces a minimum mandatory 10 years to life in prison, a $10 million fine and at least five years of supervised release.

Chief U.S. District Judge Brian Morris presided and set sentencing for Sept. 17. Baldwin was detained.

The prosecution said in court documents that Baldwin mailed a package on Nov. 7, 2019 from California to Brockton, located on the Fort Peck Indian Reservation. Law enforcement officers intercepted the package, obtained a search warrant and found meth hidden inside a jar of peanut butter and a piñata. The amount of meth totaled about 776 grams, which is about 1.7 pounds and the equivalent of approximately 6,208 doses. When interviewed, Baldwin told law enforcement that he mailed the meth. Baldwin clarified later that he provided the meth to another person who mailed it to Montana.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Cassady Adams is prosecuting the case, which was investigated by the FBI, Fort Peck Tribal Criminal Investigators and the Merced, CA, Police Department.

This case is part of Project Safe Neighborhoods, a U.S. Department of Justice initiative to reduce violent crime. According to the FBI’s Uniform Crime Reports, violent crime in Montana increased by 36% from 2013 to 2018. Through PSN, federal, tribal, state and local law enforcement partners in Montana focus on violent crime driven by methamphetamine trafficking, armed robbers, firearms offenses and violent offenders with outstanding warrants.

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Topic(s): 
Project Safe Neighborhoods
Indian Country Law and Justice
Component(s): 
Contact: 
Clair Johnson Howard Public Information Officer 406-247-4623
Updated May 21, 2020