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Justice News

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, February 16, 2022

Helena woman sentenced to more than five years in prison for trafficking methamphetamine from Las Vegas into Montana

GREAT FALLS — A Helena woman who admitted to helping to bring pounds of methamphetamine from Las Vegas, Nevada, into Montana for distribution was sentenced today to five years and six months in prison to be followed by four years of supervised release, U.S. Attorney Leif M. Johnson said.

Rhonda Jeanette Lapier, also known as Rhonda Trench, 49, pleaded guilty in October 2021 to possession with intent to distribute meth.

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

In court documents filed in the case, the government alleged that in May, an investigation in Great Falls led to Lapier’s residence, where she and a co-defendant were suspected of trafficking meth together. Officers ultimately stopped a vehicle being driven by the co-defendant and found about 3.6 pounds of meth in the trunk. Officers also obtained a warrant to search Lapier’s residence and located about three pounds of meth and $6,132 in a bedroom where Lapier had been staying with another person. Officers learned that several people, including Lapier, had gone to Las Vegas to pick up meth, had returned with six pounds and had dropped some of it off at Lapier’s residence. Six pounds of meth is the equivalent of 21,744 doses.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Ethan R. Plaut prosecuted 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 & 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: 
22-041
Updated February 16, 2022