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Justice News

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Friday, March 21, 2014

Information: Federal Court Arraignments

The United States Attorney's Office today announced that those persons listed below were arraigned before the U.S. Magistrate and the indictments handed down by the Grand Jury unsealed.

Appearing before U.S. Magistrate Lynch in Missoula on March 18, 2014 and entering pleas of Not Guilty were:

  • DEBRA McKINNEY, a 47-year-old resident of Corvallis, appeared on charges of wire fraud and aggravated identity theft. If convicted of the most serious charges contained in the indictment, McKINNEY faces 20 years imprisonment, $250,000 in fines and 3 years supervised release. The case was investigated by the U.S. Secret Service. PACER Case Reference: 14-11
  • JAMES LESLIE VAUGHN, a 48-year-old resident of Charlo appeared on Clean Water Act violations and obstruction of justice. If convicted of the most serious charges contained in the indictment, VAUGHN faces 20 years imprisonment, $250,000 in fines and 3 years supervised release. The case was investigated by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and Montana Department of Environmental Quality. PACER Case Reference: 14-09

Appearing before U.S. Magistrate Judge Strong in Great Falls on March 18, 2014 and entering pleas of Not Guilty were:

  • CHARLES W. PREE, a 48-year-old resident of Browning, appeared on charges of wire fraud, theft of government property and false statements. If convicted of the most serious charges contained in the indictment, PREE faces 20 years imprisonment, $250,000 in fines and 3 years supervised release. The case was investigated by the U.S. Department of Agriculture Office of Inspector General. PACER Case Reference: 14-08
  • JOANNE STILL SMOKING, a 21-year-old resident of Browning, appeared on charges of wire fraud, theft of government property and false statements. If convicted of the most serious charges contained in the indictment, STILL SMOKING faces 20 years imprisonment, $250,000 in fines and 3 years supervised release. The case was investigated by the U.S. Department of Agriculture Office of Inspector General. PACER Case Reference: 14-08

Appearing before U.S. Magistrate Judge Ostby in Billings on March 20, 2014 and entering pleas of Not Guilty were:

  • JAMES EDWARD DEMPSTER, a 33-year-old resident of Big Timber, appeared on charges of conspiracy to possess methamphetamine with intent to distribute and possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine. If convicted of the most serious charge contained in the indictment, DEMPSTER faces 20 years imprisonment, $1,000,000 in fines and 3 years supervised release. The investigation was a cooperative effort of the Drug Enforcement Administration, Montana Division of Criminal Investigations, Sweet Grass County Sheriff's Office, Montana Highway Patrol, Sidney Police Department and Richland County Sheriff's Office. PACER Case Reference: 14-26
  • BRIAN KETIH SALMON, a 44-year-old resident of Williston, ND, appeared on charges of possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine and conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine. If convicted of the most serious charge contained in the indictment, SALMON, faces 40 years imprisonment, $5,000,000 in fines and 5 years supervised release. The investigation was a cooperative effort of Montana Division of Criminal Investigations, the Drug Enforcement Administration and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. PACER Case Reference: 14-23

Appearing before U.S. Magistrate Judge Lynch in Missoula on March 20, 2014 and entering pleas of Not Guilty were:

  • PAUL WENCEWICZ, a 47-year-old resident of Polson, appeared on charges of conspiracy to advertise child pornography. If convicted of the charge contained in the indictment, WENCEWICZ faces 30 years imprisonment, $250,000 in fines and lifetime supervised release. The investigation was a cooperative effort of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Homeland Security Investigations, Montana Division of Criminal Investigations, and Montana Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force. PACER Case Reference: 14-14

The indictment is merely a formal charging document. It is not proof of guilt and all persons indicted are presumed to be innocent of any crime until proof of guilt is established by trial or guilty plea.

The U.S. Attorney's Office is currently transitioning its media program to new media contacts. Resources and this transition may affect the amount of information the office can process and disclose in a timely manner. Therefore, if any of the above cases are of interest to your media organization and the community it serves, we encourage you to monitor the progress of the case regularly through the U.S. District Court calendar and the PACER system so that you stay current and not miss any important developments in the case.

To establish a PACER account, which will allow you to review documents filed in the case, please go to, http://www.pacer.gov/register.html.

To access the district court's calendar, please go to https://ecf.mtd.uscourts.gov/cgi-bin/PublicCalendar.pl.

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Updated January 14, 2015