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Justice News

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, February 23, 2022

Great Falls woman admits to trafficking methamphetamine

GREAT FALLS — A Great Falls woman suspected of traveling to Las Vegas, Nevada, to obtain methamphetamine for distribution admitted to a trafficking charge today, U.S. Attorney Leif M. Johnson said.

Lillian Marie Lapier, 45, pleaded guilty to a superseding information charging her with possession with intent to distribute meth. Lapier faces a mandatory minimum five years to 40 years in prison, a $5 million fine and at least four years of supervised release.

Chief U.S. District Judge Brian M. Morris presided. The court will determine any sentence after considering the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors. Chief Judge Morris set sentencing for May 26. Lapier was detained pending further proceedings.

The government alleged in court documents that in May 2021, agents with the Russell Country Drug Task Force executed a search warrant on a Great Falls residence, recovered meth and learned that the source of supply was Lapier, who was traveling to Great Falls with meth. The investigation led to a Helena residence of co-defendant, Rhonda Lapier, also known as Rhonda Trench, where Rhonda Lapier and Lillian Lapier were suspected of trafficking meth together. After observing vehicles arrive and depart the residence, law enforcement stopped a suspect vehicle driven by Lillian Lapier and found cash and about 3.6 pounds of actual meth in the trunk. Lillian Lapier told law enforcement that she and Rhonda Lapier had left Las Vegas, Nevada, together after re-suppling with meth from a California-based supplier. Lillian Lapier also told officers she had been getting about two pounds of meth every week to a week and a half for the past three to four months. Officers found about three pounds of meth at the Helena evidence. The six pounds of meth seized is the equivalent of 21,744 doses. Rhonda Lapier was sentenced to more than five years in prison for conviction in the case. A third co-defendant, Ashley Nicole Rico, is pending sentencing for her conviction in the case.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Ethan R. Plaut is prosecuting the case, which was investigated by the Russell Country Drug Task Force, the Missouri River Drug Task Force, FBI, Great Falls Police Department Cascade County Sheriff’s Office and Lewis and Clark County Sheriff’s Office.

This case is part of Project Safe Neighborhoods, a U.S. Department of Justice initiative to reduce violent crime. Through PSN, federal, tribal, state and local law enforcement partners in Montana focus on violent crime driven by methamphetamine trafficking, armed robbers, firearms offenses and violent offenders with outstanding warrants.

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Topic(s): 
Project Safe Neighborhoods
Component(s): 
Contact: 
Clair J. Howard Public Affairs Officer 406-247-4623
Press Release Number: 
22-052
Updated February 23, 2022