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Justice News

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, April 17, 2014

Derek Rhinehart Sentenced To Prison For Drug Charges

The United States Attorney's Office announced that during a federal court session in Billings on March 27, 2014 before U.S. District Judge Susan Watters, DEREK DEFOREST RHINEHART was sentenced to 60 months imprisonment and 5 years supervised release for possession of methamphetamine with intent to distribute.

The prosecution was part of Project Safe Bakken, a cooperative effort between federal and state prosecutors and federal, state, local, and tribal law enforcement agencies in Montana and North Dakota.

In an Offer of Proof filed by Assistant U.S. Attorney Joseph Thaggard, the government stated that between October 2012 and late March 2013, Tomas Alvarado and Eliseo Martinez conspired to distribute and did, in fact, distribute, large quantities of methamphetamine in Billings, Montana and other areas in Eastern Montana, including the Bakken oil fields. The distribution of methamphetamine pursuant to that conspiracy ended on or March 11-12, 2013,

Alvarado and Martinez were arrested on federal drug trafficking charges, although the conspiracy continued for a period of time.

Alvarado and Martinez used a number of subordinates to distribute the methamphetamine. The Defendant was one such subordinate.

Alvarado has stated he fronted multiple pounds of methamphetamine to the Defendant for distribution.

On August 26, 2013, the Defendant was arrested in connection with this indictment. Following his arrest, the Defendant was provided a Miranda warning and agreed to speak to members of an FBI Task Force regarding the crimes charged in the indictment.

The Defendant admitted that met Alvarado near the end of 2012 and was recruited to sell methamphetamine for Alvarado.

The Defendant stated that, over the period of time that preceded Alvarado's arrest in March 2013, he received approximately 16 ounces of methamphetamine from Alvarado. The Defendant stated the methamphetamine was "fronted" (provided on credit) to him and that he distributed methamphetamine in Billings and Colstrip, Montana from the amounts of the drug provided to him by Alvarado.

The term pure methamphetamine refers to the purity contained in the transacted amount which is usually "cut" with inert ingredients that make the actual product less pure but more profitable as drugs are generally sold based on quantity not quality.

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Updated January 14, 2015