Michigan man admits trafficking fentanyl on Rocky Boy’s Indian Reservation
GREAT FALLS — A Michigan man suspected of working with other Detroit-area individuals to distribute fentanyl on the Rocky Boy’s Indian Reservation admitted to a trafficking crime today, said U.S. Attorney Leif M. Johnson,
Brandon Lamar Louis James, 22, of Southfield, Michigan, pleaded guilty to possession with intent to distribute controlled substances. James faces a maximum of 20 years in prison, a $1 million fine and at least three years of supervised release.
Chief U.S. District Judge Brian M. Morris presided. Sentencing was set for Aug. 25. The court will determine any sentence after considering the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors. James was released pending further proceedings.
The government alleged in court documents that in June 2021, the FBI was investigating a number of individuals from the Detroit area who were suspected to be distributing fentanyl on and around the Rocky Boy’s Indian Reservation. The FBI executed a search warrant at the residence of John and Jane Doe, on the reservation. Jane Doe was home and was detained, but John Doe was not present. Jane Doe told the officers that there was another individual in a bedroom. The door to the bedroom was locked and nobody responded to repeated commands to open it. Officers breached the door and found and detained James. During a search of the residence, officers found an Aleve brand pill bottle containing a suspected mixture of Aleve pills and fentanyl pills. A Drug Enforcement Administration analysis found that 258 pills were legitimate Aleve pills and that 179 pills were found to contain fentanyl.
John Doe and Jane Doe both described helping multiple out-of-state fentanyl suppliers who traveled to the reservation to distribute drugs. They identified a particular individual who was from Detroit and had met him more than a year prior. The Detroit individual frequently contacted them to pick up or house other individuals, who would travel to Montana with fentanyl pills and distribute them on the reservation. James had been one of those individuals they had transported and housed at the request of the Detroit individual.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Ethan R. Plaut is prosecuting the case, which was investigated by the FBI, Tri-Agency Task Force, Russell Country High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area Task Force, Bureau of Indian Affairs and Chippewa Cree Law Enforcement Services.