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Justice News

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Friday, June 17, 2022

Chinook man sentenced to six years in prison for trafficking methamphetamine on Fort Belknap Indian Reservation

GREAT FALLS  — A Chinook man who admitted to trafficking methamphetamine on the Fort Belknap Indian Reservation was sentenced on June 16 to six years in prison to be followed by five years of supervised release, U.S. Attorney Jesse Laslovich said today.

Kalled Sam Hassen Jaha, 39, pleaded guilty in March to possession with intent to distribute meth.

Chief U.S. District Judge Brian M. Morris presided.

In court documents, the government alleged that in March 2019, a Fort Belknap Law Enforcement police officer attempted a traffic stop of a vehicle that was speeding through a neighborhood on the reservation. After a short chase, the driver and passenger left the car and fled on foot. Multiple officers were unable to locate the individuals. Officers saw drugs and other items in the car, including a receipt with Jaha’s name printed on it, and impounded the car. Officers located Jaha the next day and detained him at the police station for questioning. While at the station, an officer noticed Jaha was chewing on a piece of paper and pulled it from mouth. The paper appeared to be pieces of a drug ledger. Jaha was charged with tribal offenses and released on bond.  Two days later, officers attempted a traffic stop of a truck Jaha was driving. Jaha refused to pullover, and after a short chase, Jaha left the truck and fled on foot. Officers were unable to locate Jaha and impounded the truck. Tribal officers contacted the Tri-Agency Task Force, which knew Jaha was on state probation, and a state probation officer ordered a search of Jaha’s truck. During the search, officers found meth, miscellaneous pills, paraphernalia, two cellular phones and $685 in U.S. currency. A search warrant was served on the phone and law enforcement found text messages between Jaha and others that indicated Jaha intended to sell the meth.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Jeffrey K. Starnes prosecuted the case, which was investigated by the FBI, Tri-Agency Task Force and Fort Belknap Law Enforcement.

This case is part of Project Safe Neighborhoods, a U.S. Department of Justice initiative to reduce violent crime. 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
Component(s): 
Contact: 
Clair Johnson Howard Public Affairs Officer 406-247-4623
Press Release Number: 
22-156
Updated June 17, 2022