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Justice News

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

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Matthew Thomas Morledge Sentenced In U.S. District Court

The United States Attorney's Office announced that during a federal court session in Missoula, on May 15, 2013, before Chief U.S. District Judge Dana L. Christensen, MATTHEW THOMAS MORLEDGE, a 31-year-old resident of Billings, was sentenced to a term of:

Prison: 24 months, consecutive to revocation sentence

Special Assessment: $100

Supervised Release: 3 years

MORLEDGE was sentenced in connection with his guilty plea to possession with the intent to distribute methamphetamine.

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

On August 27, 2012, a Montana Highway Patrol trooper stopped MORLEDGE for speeding in a construction zone in Gallatin County. The trooper asked MORLEDGE to exit the vehicle and as he did so, MORLEDGE reached with his right hand under his folded down center arm rest and either retrieved or concealed something. As he stood up, he worked his hand around his waist band. The trooper asked if MORLEDGE had weapons, and he denied it. The trooper asked for MORLEDGE to lift his shirt so he could observe his waistband. There was part of a plastic baggie protruding above the waistline of MORLEDGE's underwear below his navel. The trooper asked about the bag and MORLEDGE denied there was a bag. As the trooper patted MORLEDGE down for weapons, he felt large amounts of cash in his pockets. MORLEDGE said it was about $5,000, then said the amount was closer to $6,000. MORLEDGE admitted he was on federal probation for possession of explosives.

MORLEDGE was convicted in 2005 and re-sentenced in 2007 for distribution of methamphetamine and possession of a pipe bomb in two separate cases in Federal District Court in Billings. MORLEDGE was re-sentenced to 97 months in prison and was released to supervision on March 12, 2012.

A search of MORLEDGE's person and vehicle was authorized by his probation officer. During that search a baggie containing a white crystal substance that MORLEDGE admitted was "dope" was found in MORLEDGE's pants. Also found was the baggie full of suspected cutting agent and $7,530 in cash in MORLEDGE's shorts.

Testing of the narcotics found in MORLEDGE's shorts found that the 9.3 grams of suspected methamphetamine were in fact 88.4% pure methamphetamine, for a total of 8.2 grams of pure methamphetamine.

Because there is no parole in the federal system, the "truth in sentencing" guidelines mandate that MORLEDGE will likely serve all of the time imposed by the court. In the federal system, MORLEDGE does have the opportunity to earn a sentence reduction for "good behavior." However, this reduction will not exceed 15% of the overall sentence.

The investigation was a cooperative effort between the Drug Enforcement Administration and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

Updated January 14, 2015