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Justice News

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

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Darryl Lynn Big Hair Sentenced In U.S. District Court

The United States Attorney's Office announced that during a federal court session in Billings, on October 24, 2013, before U.S. District Judge Sam E. Haddon, DARRYL LYNN BIG HAIR, a 41-year-old resident of Crow Agency, was sentenced to a term of:

  • ison: 12 months
  • ecial Assessment: $100
  • pervised Release: 3 years

BIG HAIR was sentenced in connection with his guilty plea to the use of a communications facility (cell phone) to help bring about a conspiracy to possess with the intent to distribute marijuana.

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 July 20, 2010, a Yellowstone County Sheriff(s Office Deputy initiated a traffic stop on a black 2010 Mercedes Benz SUV after running the license plate and determining that the owner had a valid arrest warrant. The owner of the vehicle, Joseph Chartraw, provided a false name to the deputy but ultimately admitted the individual's name. A narcotics-detecting K-9 was called to the scene and positively alerted on the vehicle for the presence of narcotic odors. The vehicle was impounded pending a search warrant application. A subsequent search yielded airline tickets, a cell phone, documents, $14,154 in cash, and user amounts of marijuana.

Pursuant to the search warrant, detectives had the cellular telephone seized from the vehicle analyzed. The contents revealed that Chartraw had been involved with selling hundreds of pounds of marijuana, as well as transporting tens of thousands of dollars in cash. Some of the text messages on the phone blatantly discussed prices for pounds of marijuana, smuggling bulk cash via the airlines, having bulk cash from drug proceeds deposited into bank accounts, and dealing marijuana to the Indian reservations in Montana. According to the text messages on the phone, marijuana was distributed to Browning, Polson, Crow Agency, as well as Havre, St. Ignatius, Great Falls, Missoula, Cut Bank, Lolo, and other places throughout Montana.

One of the subjects having drug-related communications with the owner of the vehicle stopped in Yellowstone County was BIG HAIR. On June 23, 2010, BIG HAIR and Chartraw exchanged a series of text messages arranging for BIG HAIR to pick up marijuana from one of Chartraw's distributors for future distribution to BIG HAIR's clients.

BIG HAIR was interviewed and admitted to distributing marijuana he purchased from Chartraw and to using his cellular telephone to arrange his drug deals with Chartraw in furtherance of the conspiracy.

Chartraw pled guilty to federal charges.

Because there is no parole in the federal system, the "truth in sentencing" guidelines mandate that he will likely serve all of the time imposed by the court. In the federal system, he does have the opportunity to earn a sentence reduction for "good behavior." However, this reduction will not exceed 15% of the overall sentence.

The investigation was conducted by the High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA) Task Force.

Updated January 14, 2015