Meth trafficking, firearms send Billings man to prison
BILLINGS—A Billings man was sentenced today to 13 years in prison and five years of supervised release after a traffic stop ultimately led to his conviction on methamphetamine trafficking and firearms crimes, U.S. Attorney Kurt Alme said.
Fred Lewis Cutsinger, 32, pleaded guilty in August to possession with intent to distribute meth and to possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime.
Chief U.S. District Judge Dana L. Christensen presided.
In court documents filed in the case, the prosecution said that Cutsinger was wanted on a warrant from Utah when he was arrested in Butte in November 2018 in an unrelated case. Prior to his November 2018 arrest, a Montana Highway Patrol trooper in Jefferson County made a traffic stop in August 2018 of a truck being driven erratically on the interstate. Cutsinger and his girlfriend were in the truck. Both provided false identification and inconsistent stories. The girlfriend was arrested and the truck was impounded pending a search warrant. Cutsinger was released. Although the Utah warrant was active, the trooper did not realize at the time that Cutsinger had provided false identification.
During a search of the truck, law enforcement found methamphetamine and two stolen firearms. Prior to the August 2018 traffic stop, the Billings drug task force received information from a number of sources describing Cutsinger as a drug supplier and seller.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Lori Suek prosecuted the case, which was investigated by the FBI Transnational Organized Crime West task force.
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.