Drug Offense Lands California Man in Federal Prison
BILLINGS—Ronald Andrew Smith, a 36-year old resident of Selma, California, was sentenced today to 240 months in prison and 5 years of supervised release after pleading guilty to possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine. United States District Judge Susan P. Watters handed down the sentence.
On February 19, 2017, Smith was pulled over by a Montana Highway Patrol trooper outside of Big Timber, Montana. While speaking to Smith during the course of the traffic stop, the trooper suspected that Smith was engaged in criminal activity. When the trooper informed Smith that he would be impounding his vehicle and applying for a search warrant, Smith attempted to start his car and flee. In the process, he punched and kicked an officer assisting with the stop and four Tasers had no effect on Smith as he was able to get the car in gear and flee.
During his flight on Interstate 90, Smith drove at upwards of 100 miles per hour, forced a number of cars off the road, and tried to wreck a semi-truck in an attempt to stop the pursuit. Eventually, Smith’s car got stuck in the snow on a side road, and he fled on foot into the mountains where he avoided arrest until the following day. While searching for Smith, law enforcement officers came upon two plastic-wrapped packages containing approximately 937 grams of methamphetamine. Smith confessed to trafficking methamphetamine after his arrest and drew a map for investigators to a location where he hid an additional 1188 grams of methamphetamine the night before while avoiding capture. Smith was held responsible for just shy of two kilograms of pure methamphetamine, which converts to nearly 16,000 individual dosage units of the drug that would have reached drug users in Montana absent the timely efforts of law enforcement.
The case was investigated by the Drug Enforcement Administration in conjunction with the Montana Highway Patrol and the Sweetgrass County Sheriff’s Office. The U.S. Attorney’s Office is partnering with federal, state, local and tribal law enforcement to identify those responsible for significant violent crime in Montana. A centerpiece of this effort is Project Safe Neighborhoods, a recently reinvigorated Department of Justice program that has proven to be successful in reducing violent crime. Today’s sentencing is part of the Project Safe Neighborhoods program.