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Justice News

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

Friday, November 22, 2013

James Leroy Daniel Baltierra And Kirk Von Felhaber Sentenced In U.S. District Court

The United States Attorney's Office announced that during a federal court session in Billings, on November 21, 2013, before U.S. District Judge Donald W. Molloy, JAMES LEROY DANIEL BALTERRA, age 31, and KIRK VON FELHABER, age 55, residents of McKinleyville, California, were sentenced.

BALTERRA received the following sentence:

  • obation: 5 years - (1 year house arrest)
  • ecial Assessment: $100

FELHABER received the following sentence:

  • Ison: 6 months (house arrest)
  • ecial Assessment: $100
  • pervised Release: 3 years

They were sentenced in connection with their guilty pleas to conspiracy to possess with the intent to distribute marijuana.

In an Offer of Proof filed by Assistant U.S. Attorney Jessica T. Fehr, the government stated it would have proved at trial the following:

From the summer of 2008, until the summer of 2010, Joseph Chartraw organized and profited from a marijuana distribution network across Montana. Chartraw had numerous distributors and drug couriers in Montana. Chartraw's source of supply was identified by law enforcement as being in California. Chartraw used his cellular telephone to communicate with everyone in his distribution organization - including his sources of supply in California.

Chartraw's first connection to a group of marijuana growers and distributors in California was FELHABER. FELHABER would bring together multiple growers at his home whenever Chartraw or one of his couriers would be arriving in California. FELHABER would have several individuals bring their marijuana to his home for redistribution to Chartraw or one of his couriers. Patrick McMullen, BALTIERRA, Gregory Harris, and Henry Combs had several grow operations in Californian and were one of the sources of supply for Chartraw through FELHABER. FELHABER was the primary contact for the group and Chartraw until FELHABER refused to provide Chartraw with a title for a vehicle he had sold him. FELHABER then took a lesser role in the distribution - he continued to participate - just in a lesser degree.

At that point McMullen, FELHABER's grandson, took over the organization of deliveries to Chartraw's organization. McMullen was business partners with BALTIERRA. McMullen and BALTIERRA continued to distribute to Chartraw until the Summer of 2010 when Chartraw was arrested in Billings.

Evidence would have proven that more than 100 kilograms of marijuana was possessed by the conspiracy with the intent to distribute.

Chartraw, Harris, McMullen, and Combs pled guilty to federal charges.

The investigation was conducted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation's Big Sky Safe Streets Task Force.

Updated January 14, 2015