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Press Release

Meth trafficking sends Billings man to prison for 15 years

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

BILLINGS — A Billings man convicted by a federal jury of trafficking methamphetamine after investigators intercepted a package containing the drug hidden in false bottom cans was sentenced today to 15 years in prison, to be followed by 10 years of supervised release, U.S. Attorney Jesse Laslovich said.

After a two-day trial that began on July 10, the jury found Shane Edward Johnson, 54, guilty of conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute meth, possession with intent to distribute meth and prohibited person in possession of ammunition.

U.S. District Judge Dana L. Christensen presided.

In court documents and at trial, the government alleged that from about April 2020 until October 2021, Johnson, who has a prior federal drug conviction, conspired to distribute meth in the Laurel and Billings communities. In October 2021, law enforcement intercepted a package shipped through the U.S. Postal Service from California to Laurel. Officers executed a search warrant on the package and found two pounds of meth inside four plastic candles. A co-defendant took possession of the package in a controlled delivery. Law enforcement converged on the residence to execute a search warrant and encountered Johnson and the co-defendant. Agents located a backpack, belonging to Johnson, that contained baggies of meth, a digital scale, approximately $1,000 and two loaded handgun magazines. Johnson was prohibited from possessing ammunition because of his prior felony conviction.

Assistant U.S. Attorneys Julie R. Patten and Zeno B. Baucus prosecuted the case. The U.S. Postal Service, FBI West, Billings Police Department and Yellowstone County Sheriff’s Office 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 December 6, 2023

Project Safe Neighborhoods
Press Release Number: 23-453