Lodge Grass man admits meth trafficking in large-scale operation on Crow Indian Reservation and assaulting a woman
BILLINGS — A Lodge Grass man suspected of being a leader in a large-scale methamphetamine trafficking operation based on the Crow Indian Reservation and of beating a woman with a weapon admitted to charges on Nov. 30 in two separate cases, U.S. Attorney Jesse Laslovich said today.
Wendell Monroe Lefthand, 54, pleaded guilty to possession with intent to distribute meth. Lefthand faces a mandatory minimum of 10 years to life in prison, a $10 million fine and at least five years of supervised release. In a separate case, Lefthand pleaded guilty to assault of a spouse resulting in substantial bodily injury and assault with a dangerous weapon. Lefthand faces a maximum of 10 years in prison, a $250,000 fine and three years of supervised release.
U.S. Magistrate Judge Timothy J. Cavan presided. A sentencing date will be set before U.S. District Judge Susan P. Watters. The court will determine any sentence after considering the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors. Lefthand was detained pending further proceedings.
In court documents in the drug trafficking case, the government alleged that federal law enforcement, in a collaborative effort with local and tribal law enforcement, conducted a large-scale investigation centered on multiple properties on the Crow Indian Reservation. The properties, including one referred to as Spear Siding, were a source of supply of meth for both the Crow and Northern Cheyenne Indian reservations. Lefthand is one of the individuals affiliated with the investigation.
The government further alleged that Lefthand and other family members occupied the Spear Siding property. The investigation determined that Lefthand was the source of supply for others until his arrest in June 2022. The investigation also determined that Lefthand was a leader of the operation at the property and had amassed a significant drug debt. After his arrest on an unrelated matter, Lefthand continued to influence the operation by directing individuals to provide others with marijuana and meth.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office is prosecuting the drug trafficking case. The Bureau of Indian Affairs, Drug Enforcement Administration and FBI conducted the investigation.
In the assault case, the government alleged that on April 4, 2021, Lefthand and his wife, along three of his wife’s relatives, were staying in a camper near Lodge Grass. Lefthand and his wife verbally argued throughout the day and the argument turned physical. Lefthand’s wife grabbed an item to defend herself because Lefthand had abused her before. Lefthand’s wife ended up on the ground, and Lefthand hit her with a metal bar or piece of wood. Lefthand’s wife and the relatives fled on foot and hid in a ditch by the highway before flagging down a ride. Lefthand’s wife was treated for injuries a few days later.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Lori Harper Suek is prosecuting the assault case. The Bureau of Indian Affairs and FBI conducted the investigation.
Clair J. Howard
Public Affairs Officer