Fort Peck Meth Dealer Sentenced to Prison
GREAT FALLS - The United States Attorney’s Office announced today that Mauri Gourneau was sentenced to 40 months in prison, four years of supervised release, and a $100 special assessment. U.S. District Judge Brian Morris presided over the hearing.
Gourneau previously entered a guilty plea to possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine. In April 2017, Gourneau was stopped by the Montana Highway Patrol on US Highway 2. Following a search of her vehicle and possessions, Gourneau was found in possession of a digital scale and a plastic baggie containing 76.7 grams of pure methamphetamine. Gourneau was selling methamphetamine on the Fort Peck Indian Reservation, primarily in Poplar.
In a sentencing memorandum filed in federal court, federal prosecutors noted, “The distribution of methamphetamine is crippling communities, including the Indian reservations. Possessing with the intent to distribute methamphetamine is an offense against society as a whole and the mere existence of methamphetamine is detrimental.” It continued “[Gourneau’s] possession of over 70 grams of pure methamphetamine in alarming considering how many people could purchase from her and get high.”
Judge Morris sentenced Gourneau to over three years in federal prison, with four years of supervised release to follow. Because there is no parole in the federal system, Gourneau will likely serve all of the time imposed by the court. In the federal system, Gourneau does have the opportunity to shorten the term of custody by earning credit for good behavior. However, this reduction will not exceed 15% of the overall sentence.
The Gourneau case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Bureau of Indian Affairs, Fort Peck Tribes Department of Law and Justice, Roosevelt County Sheriff’s Office, and other federal, state, and local agencies.
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.