Meth trafficking, firearm sends Bigfork man to prison for 15 years
GREAT FALLS — A Bigfork man convicted of methamphetamine trafficking in the Havre area was sentenced today to 15 years in prison and five years of supervised release, U.S. Attorney Kurt Alme said.
Shane Alan Nault, 44, pleaded guilty in June to possession with intent to distribute meth and to prohibited person in possession of a firearm.
Chief U.S. District Judge Brian M. Morris presided.
The prosecution said in court documents that in the fall of 2017, informants alerted drug task force officers that Nault was selling meth in and around Hill County. Law enforcement arranged for an undercover operation to buy meth from Nault and surveilled multiple drug transactions that occurred in Nault's pickup truck. In March 2018, officers located a truck registered to an associate of Nault's in Havre. Nault, who was the driver and only person in the truck, appeared to be under the influence of narcotics. Officers arrested Nault and obtained a search warrant for the truck. During the search, officers found a 9mm pistol, three packages containing about 500 grams of meth and other drug paraphernalia. Nault was prohibited from possessing firearms because of a previous felony conviction in U.S. District Court.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Jeff Starnes prosecuted the case, which was investigated by the FBI, Havre Police Department, Montana Highway Patrol, Tri-Agency Task Force and Drug Enforcement Administration.
This case is part of Project Guardian, the U.S. Department of Justice’s recent initiative to reduce gun violence and enforce federal firearms laws, and Project Safe Neighborhoods, the USDOJ’s initiative to reduce violent crime. According to the FBI’s Uniform Crime Reports, violent crime in Montana increased by 36% from 2013 through 2018. Through these initiatives, federal, tribal, state and local law enforcement partners in Montana focus on violent crime driven by methamphetamine trafficking, armed robbers, firearms offenses and violent offenders with outstanding warrants.