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Press Release

Lodge Grass woman who ran multi-state drug trafficking ring that distributed meth across the state and to four Montana Indian reservations sentenced to 24 years in prison

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, District of Montana

BILLINGS — A Lodge Grass woman convicted in a large-scale, multi-state methamphetamine trafficking operation she ran from her home on the Crow Indian Reservation to supply drugs across the state and to four Montana Indian reservations was sentenced today to 24 years in prison, to be followed by five years of supervised release, U.S. Attorney Jesse Laslovich said.

The defendant, Frederica Lefthand, 52, pleaded guilty in August 2023 to possession with intent to distribute meth and conspiracy to commit money laundering.

U.S. District Judge Susan P. Watters presided.

“As a top-level dealer in this broad conspiracy, Lefthand is responsible for spreading staggering quantities of poison not only in her own community on the Crow Indian Reservation, but across Montana, including on the Northern Cheyenne, Fort Belknap, and Rocky Boy’s reservations. Lefthand played a key role in obtaining meth from suppliers in Washington, recruited lower-level dealers, collected drug debts, and wired proceeds to an individual in Washington. She has earned this prison sentence and I am proud of our law enforcement partners and prosecutors who have brought her to justice,” U.S. Attorney Laslovich said.

“The Bureau of Indian Affairs Division of Drug Enforcement is devoted to removing dangerous drug dealers in Indian Country, including those that continually exploit and profit off the pain and tragic loss of their fellow community members, such as Lefthand.  We value the partnerships with DEA, FBI, and other agencies that were involved in this case to fully realize the capabilities of cooperative law enforcement efforts that led to this sentence,” said Jerin Falcon, Deputy Associate Director of the BIA Division of Drug Enforcement.

“Montana, and specifically the Indian Reservation communities across the state, have not been immune from the impact of Mexican Cartels and their trafficking of methamphetamine and fentanyl.  The sentencing today affirms that DEA and our partners will relentlessly pursue the cartels and their networks and hold them accountable for the harm they are causing our communities,” said Cesar Avila, Resident Agent in Charge of the Drug Enforcement Administration.

“Lefthand essentially helped fuel a drug crisis among her own people and throughout the state,” said Shohini Sinha, Special Agent in Charge of the Salt Lake City FBI. “The FBI and our partners aim to target criminal enterprises and cut off the supply of illegal narcotics at the highest levels, so they don’t make it into our neighborhoods.”

 In court documents and statements in court, the government alleged that federal law enforcement, in a collaborative effort with local and tribal law enforcement, investigated a large-scale, multi-state narcotics trafficking operation that ran from January 2022 until March 2023 and was based on two properties on the Crow Indian Reservation, including Lefthand’s residence, which was known as Spear Siding. Lefthand was near the top of the conspiracy, only below a Washington source of supply and identified as co-defendant 1. The investigation into Spear Siding activities began in June 2022 and has led to federal charges against 25 other defendants, 12 of whom have been convicted and sentenced.

Lefthand supplied a significant portion of the meth sold across the Crow, Northern Cheyenne, Fort Belknap and Rocky Boy’s Indian reservations and had operations in every reservation town as well as in Billings and Havre. Lefthand was the ringleader of the operation, which involved “pounds and pounds and pounds” of meth, the government said. Lefthand worked directly with co-defendant 1 and managed the operation in Montana, dispensing drugs to lower-level dealers, collecting debts, organizing deals and recruiting others to help her make money. Spear Siding was a hub of drug activity, and sources reported that Spear Siding would “never run out” of meth.

While traveling to Washington state with co-defendant 1, Lefthand attempted to recruit more “great distributors.” In an intercepted text message, Lefthand said:

“we will be back in business when we get back so start thinking about of few of your other peeps who might want to purchase or be great distributors. We will only be working with a few but will be considering other locations if you know what I mean jellybean!!! Maybe seven and ten if need be.”

Law enforcement conducted two controlled purchases of meth from Lefthand in September 2022. On April 1, 2023, law enforcement arrested Lefthand in a stolen vehicle following a pursuit and found her to be in possession of meth and a handgun. In addition, Lefthand made several wire transfers of money from drug transactions to an individual in Washington.

Assistant U.S. Attorneys prosecuted the case. The Bureau of Indian Affairs, Drug Enforcement Administration and FBI conducted the investigation.

This case is part of Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN), a program bringing together all levels of law enforcement and the communities they serve to reduce violent crime and gun violence, and to make our neighborhoods safer for everyone. On May 26, 2021, the Department launched a violent crime reduction strategy strengthening PSN based on these core principles: fostering trust and legitimacy in our communities, supporting community-based organizations that help prevent violence from occurring in the first place, setting focused and strategic enforcement priorities, and measuring the results.



Clair J. Howard

Public Affairs Officer


Updated March 7, 2024

Project Safe Neighborhoods
Indian Country Law and Justice
Press Release Number: 24-61