Last of Six Defendants Sentenced for Gun and Drug Trade in Great Falls
GREAT FALLS - The United States Attorney’s Office announced today that the last of six co-defendants was sentenced today for her role in a methamphetamine for guns trade that took place in Great Falls. 31-year old Monica Hulit of Great Falls was sentenced to 24 months in prison, 2 years of supervised release, and a $100 special assessment. U.S. District Judge Brian M. Morris presided over the hearing. Dawn Evans of Kevin, Montana, was previously sentenced to 24 months for her role in this offense. Marty Krominga of Great Falls was previously sentenced to 28 months for his role in this offense. Alvin Roe of Lewistown, Montana, was previously sentenced to 33 months for his role in this offense. Richard Stampka of Great Falls was previously sentenced to 12 months and one day for his role in this offense. Story Wood of Livingston, Montana, was previously sentenced to 54 months for his role in this offense.
In the summer of 2015, various methamphetamine dealers became acquainted with each other at a local methamphetamine supplier’s home in Great Falls, Montana. During this time, various members of this group, including Monica Hulit and Story Wood, made drug runs to Washington and Idaho, in order to bring methamphetamine back to Great Falls for redistribution in the area, as well as to local Indian reservations. This group also discussed trading firearms in exchange for methamphetamine.
Following one late summer gathering at this Great Falls home, Hulit, Wood, and another male, left to go on an out-of-state drug run. A few days later, on August 23, 2015, the Shoshone County Sheriff’s Office in Smelterville, Idaho, responded to a shoplifting report at the local Walmart. A deputy identified the suspects involved in the shoplifting as Hulit, Wood, and the other male. The deputy issued various citations to the Hulit, Wood, and the male, and observed they were all traveling together in a gold car with Montana license plates.
Two days later, on August 25, 2015, a Montana Highway Patrol Trooper stopped this same gold car for speeding on Highway 200 in Lewis and Clark County. The trooper identified Wood as the driver, Hulit as the front passenger, and the male as the rear passenger. All three individuals provided various inconsistent statements to the trooper, and Wood appeared to be extremely nervous and fidgety. Based on the behavior of Hulit, Wood, and the male, the trooper believed there may be illegal drugs in the car and requested consent to search the car. Wood denied consent, and the trooper impounded the car pending a search warrant. The trooper arrested the male on an outstanding warrant, and Hulit and Wood began to walk down Highway 200. The trooper called a towing company out of Wolf Creek to secure the car. The towing company arrived and towed the gold car, identified as a Honda Accord, to a secure impound lot in Wolf Creek pending the execution of a search warrant.
The following day, August 26, 2015, troopers went to find the car in Wolf Creek and discovered the fence to the secure storage lot had been damaged. They discovered that someone had tampered with the evidence tape adhered to the gold Honda Accord, and it appeared someone had entered the car since it had been towed to the lot. Subsequently, the troopers found drug-related paraphernalia in the car, and reported the suspicious incident to the local drug task force offices.
Meanwhile, on September 2, 2015, Great Falls police responded to a report that numerous storage units had been burglarized at a local storage unit complex in Great Falls. Officers went to the business and found someone had cut through the fence behind one of the storage buildings and had entered the property. The business had no surveillance equipment, but the officers noted that someone had cut the locks off three of the storage units, although it appeared that only one of the units had been burglarized. The owner of the burglarized unit arrived to speak with police, and subsequently observed that numerous firearms were missing from the unit.
On September 9, 2015, Great Falls police received a call from an employee at a local bar concerning a suspicious car in the parking lot. Great Falls police found the car, and identified the occupants of the car as Hulit, Wood, and the other male. Wood told the officers he had borrowed the car. The officers contacted the registered owner of the car who consented to a search of the car. As Hulit, Wood, and the other male got out of the car, Wood mentioned there might be a firearm in the car. Officers looked under the driver’s seat of the car and removed a loaded semi-automatic pistol.
Detectives obtained a search warrant for the car and found additional firearms and ammunition in the trunk. Specifically, detectives found two bags in the trunk of the car that contained ammunition addressed to the father of the storage unit owner whose unit had been burglarized. Detectives also found four additional firearms in the trunk of the car, which included three rifles and a shotgun.
Detectives subsequently confirmed that the owner of the storage unit reported that all four of these firearms had been stolen from his unit during the September 2, 2015, burglary. The owner of the storage unit also positively identified that all four of the firearms had previously been stored in his storage unit. During further investigation, detectives learned that Marty Krominga and Dawn Evans were responsible for breaking into the storage unit and stealing the firearms that were recovered from the trunk of the car occupied by the defendant. Following the burglary of the storage unit, Krominga and Evans had immediately taken the stolen firearms to Hulit in order to trade the stolen firearms for methamphetamine.
Detectives also learned that Krominga and Evans had stolen a 12-gauge pump action shotgun from the storage unit, and subsequently provided it to a woman to pawn at a local pawnshop. Based on this information, detectives went to a Great Falls pawnshop and recovered the pump action shotgun, which had been pawned by the woman. Detectives contacted the storage unit owner, who identified the shotgun by its serial number, and confirmed it was one of the firearms stolen from his storage unit. Lastly, detectives learned that Hulit, Wood, Stampka and Roe were responsible for breaking into the secure impound lot in Wolf Creek in order to retrieve methamphetamine and a firearm from the car.
The case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Jessica Betley and investigated by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and the Great Falls Police Department.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office is partnering with federal, state, local and tribal law enforcement to identify those responsible for significant violent crime in Montana. A centerpiece of this effort is Project Safe Neighborhoods, a recently reinvigorated Department of Justice program that has proven to be successful in reducing violent crime. Today’s sentencing is part of the Project Safe Neighborhoods program.