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Press Release

Great Falls meth trafficker sentenced to prison

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

GREAT FALLS  — A Great Falls man who admitted to trafficking methamphetamine at a casino in the community was sentenced today to five years and eight months in prison, to be followed by four years of supervised release, U.S. Attorney Jesse Laslovich said.

James Joseph Sangrey, 39, pleaded guilty in March to possession with intent to distribute meth.

Chief U.S. District Judge Brian M. Morris presided.

In court documents, the government alleged that in August 2022, the Russell Country Drug Task Force learned that Sangrey was dealing drugs at a casino in Great Falls. Law enforcement observed Sangrey meet for a few minutes in the parking lot with occupants of vehicles and believed that he was selling drugs. On Aug. 31, 2022, after a suspected drug deal, state probation officers arrested Sangrey as he tried to run out the back door of the casino. Officers served a state search warrant on Sangrey’s car and seized a backpack that contained baggies, a blow torch, a mirror with white residue and a scale. In the car, officers found two plastic baggies containing meth.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Jessica A. Betley prosecuted the case. The Russell Country Drug Task Force, Great Falls Police Department, Homeland Security Investigations and Montana Probation and Parole conducted the investigation.

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 July 13, 2023

Project Safe Neighborhoods
Press Release Number: 23-218