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Press Release

Colorado man sentenced to more than 11 years in prison for trafficking meth, fentanyl to Montana

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

BILLINGS  — A Colorado man who was convicted of trafficking methamphetamine and fentanyl after Yellowstone County law enforcement found the drugs and a firearm in his vehicle during a traffic stop was sentenced today to 11 years and three months in prison, to be followed by four years of supervised release, U.S. Attorney Jesse Laslovich said.

James Robert Harrelson, 49, of Colorado Springs, Colorado, pleaded guilty in September 2022 to possession with intent to distribute controlled substances.

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

The government alleged in court document that in April 2022, officers with the Eastern Montana High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area Task Force received information that Harrelson was trafficking drugs from Colorado to Billings. An investigation led to a traffic stop of Harrelson by Yellowstone County Sheriff’s deputies. Task force officers searched the vehicle and found meth, fentanyl pills, drug scales, plastic baggies, smoking devices, hypodermic needles and a 9mm handgun. Harrelson admitted that he was transporting the drugs from Colorado to Billings and that the handgun was his.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Colin M. Rubich prosecuted the case, which was investigated by the Eastern Montana High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area Task Force.

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


Updated February 15, 2023

Project Safe Neighborhoods
Press Release Number: 23-56