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Justice News

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, April 24, 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 Strong on April 22, 2014 and entering pleas of Not Guilty were:

  • DUSTIN JAY STEELE, a 31-year-old resident of Great Falls, appeared on charges of conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine, possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine, possession of a firearm during a drug crime, possession of a stolen firearm and felon in possession of a firearm. If convicted of the most serious charges contained in the indictment, STEELE faces life imprisonment, $5,000,000 in fines and 5 years supervised release. The case was investigated by the Drug Enforcement Administration, Great Falls Police Department and the Russell Country Drug Task Force. PACER Case Reference: 14-26

Appearing before U.S. Magistrate Lynch in Missoula on April 23, 2014 and entering pleas of Not Guilty were:

  • LLOYD NICKLE, a 48-year-old resident of Minot, North Dakota appeared on charges of conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine and possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine. If convicted of them most serious charges contained in the indictment, NICKLE faces life imprisonment, $10,000,000 in fines and 5 years supervised release. The case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation. PACER Case Reference: 13-23

Appearing before U.S. Magistrate Lynch in Missoula on April 24, 2014 and entering pleas of Not Guilty were:

  • BRIAN DAVID BAUER, a 26-year old resident of Missoula, appeared on charges of conspiracy to distribute a controlled substance. If convicted of the most serious charges contained in the indictment, BAUER faces 20 years imprisonment, $1,000,000 in fines and 3 years supervised release. The case was investigated by the Northwest Drug Task Force. PACER Case Reference: 14-23
  • JULIA SHANI BENTON, a 30 year-old-resident of Bozeman, appeared on charges of conspiracy to distribute heroin, possession with intent to distribute heroin and distribution of heroin. If convicted of the most serious charges contained in the indictment, BENTON faces 40 years imprisonment, $5,000,000 in fines and 4 years supervised release. The was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Missouri River Drug Task Force. PACER Case Reference: 14-11
  • FRANCIS BERCAW, a 63-year-old resident of Roanoke Rapids, North Carolina, appeared on charges of aiding or advising a false tax return. If convicted of the most serious charges contained in the indictment, BERCAW faces 3 years imprisonment, $250,000 in fines and 1 year supervised release. The case was investigated by the IRS - Criminal Investigation Division. PACER Case Reference: 14-07
  • CHELLE CAUDLE, a 45-year-old resident of Gaston, North Carolina, appeared on charges of aiding or advising a false tax return. If convicted of the most serious charges contained in the indictment, CAUDLE faces 3 years imprisonment, $250,000 in fines and 1 year supervised release. The case was investigated by the IRS - Criminal Investigation Division. PACER Case Reference: 14-07
  • MICHAEL HERBERT JOHNSON, a 26-year-old resident of Missoula, appeared on charges of conspiracy to distribute a controlled substance. If convicted of the most serious charges contained in the indictment, JOHNSON faces 20 years imprisonment, $1,000,000 in fines and 3 years supervised release. The case was investigated by the Northwest Drug Task Force. PACER Case Reference: 14-23
  • AUSTIN DAVID LAWRENCE, a 21-year-old resident of Bozeman, appeared on charges of conspiracy to distribute heroin; possession with intent to distribute heroin and distribution of heroin. If convicted of the most serious charges contained in the indictment, LAWRENCE, faces 40 years imprisonment, $5,000,000 in fines and 4 years supervised release. The case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Missouri River Drug Task Force. PACER Case Reference: 14-12
  • TELLY LOPEZ PAYNE, a 37-year-old resident of Bozeman, appeared on charges of conspiracy to distribute heroin, possession with intent to distribute heroin, conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine and possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine. If convicted of the most serious charges contained in the indictment, PAYNE faces life imprisonment, $10,000,000 in fines and 5 years supervised release. The case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Missouri River Drug Task Force. PACER Case Reference: 14-13
  • BRANDT JONATHAN MILLER, a 29-year old resident of Missoula, appeared on charges of conspiracy to distribute a controlled substance. If convicted of the most serious charges contained in the indictment, MILLER faces 20 years imprisonment, $1,000,000 in fines and 3 years supervised release. The case was investigated by the Northwest Drug Task Force. PACER Case Reference: 14-23

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.

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