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Justice News

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

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Cindy Lee Johnson Pleads Guilty In U.S. Federal Court

The United States Attorney's Office announced that during a federal court session in Billings, on July 2, 2013, before U.S. District Judge Sam E. Haddon, CINDY LEE JOHNSON, a 34-year-old resident of Clearfield, Utah, pled guilty to possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine. Sentencing has been set for October 7, 2013. She is currently detained.

In an Offer of Proof filed by Assistant U.S. Attorney Jessica T. Fehr the government stated it would have proved at trial the following:

On January 11, 2013, JOHNSON, was detained and then arrested by law enforcement following the execution of a search warrant by Drug Enforcement agents. JOHNSON was booked and transported to jail where she was searched.

On January 12, 2013, law enforcement was advised that jail staff had located 4.1 grams of methamphetamine on JOHNSON's body during the intake search.

On February 21, 2013, jailers received information from several other inmates that there was a large quantity of methamphetamine in the female cell block. The jailers learned that JOHNSON was believed to be the person who had smuggled in the methamphetamine and was distributing it to the rest of the inmates. A strip search was conducted of JOHNSON as was a search of JOHNSON's cell. In JOHNSON's cell jailers found two golf ball sized items wrapped in electrical tape. The items were unwrapped and tested. The two golf ball sized items were methamphetamine. The methamphetamine was weighed by the DEA lab and found to have a net weight of 52.4 grams and a purity of 89.2%.

JOHNSON had smuggled the methamphetamine into the jail following her arrest in her body cavity. JOHNSON concealed the drugs from jailers and distributed the methamphetamine to other female inmates at the jail between her arrest on January 11, 2013, and February 21, 2013.

JOHNSON faces possible penalties of a mandatory minimum of 5 years in prison and could be sentenced to 40 years, a $5,000,000 fine, and 4 years supervised release.

The illegal activities described in this case were in part attributable to the demand currently being noted in the areas referred to as the "Bakken Boom." The change of plea in this case is a direct result of the cooperative efforts of the Drug Enforcement Agency and the Montana Division of Criminal Investigations in those communities directly affected by the population influx due to the Bakken.

Updated January 14, 2015