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Justice News

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, July 20, 2021

Missoula man sentenced to 20 years in prison for Flathead Valley meth trafficking; gun crimes

Pound quantities stored at East Missoula shop

MISSOULA – A Missoula man was sentenced today to 20 years in prison to be followed by five years of supervised release for conviction in a large methamphetamine trafficking investigation in which multi-pound shipments of meth were stored at his shop in East Missoula and distributed in the Flathead Valley, Acting U.S. Leif M. Johnson said.

Leon Paul Kavis, Jr., 37, pleaded guilty on March 9 to conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute meth and to possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime.

U.S. District Judge Dana L. Christensen presided. Judge Christensen also ordered the forfeiture of $13,920, nine guns, ammunition and magazines. Kavis was detained.

The government alleged in court documents that Kavis was identified to law enforcement as a source of meth in the Flathead Valley from about November 2019 to November 2020. California authorities also identified Kavis as working with individuals to bring meth to Montana. Eight informants reported receiving at least 34 pounds of meth from Kavis. Investigators recovered about five pounds of meth that were sent to Kavis’ shop in East Missoula and recovered another two pounds of meth during a search of the shop. In addition, the government alleged that law enforcement learned that several packages totaling 28 pounds of meth from known drug associates had been delivered to Kavis’ shop. Court documents also alleged Kavis told informants that he was bringing in 30 pounds of meth per week. Thirty pounds of meth is the equivalent of about 108,720 doses. The government alleged that Kavis always carried a firearm for protection and often had large sums of cash, ranging from $30,000 to $50,000.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Jennifer S. Clark prosecuted the case, which was investigated by the FBI’s Montana Regional Violent Crimes Task Force, the Missoula Police Department and the Flathead County Sheriff’s Office.

This case is part of Project Safe Neighborhoods, a U.S. Department of Justice initiative to reduce violent crime. Through PSN, 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.

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Topic(s): 
Project Safe Neighborhoods
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Contact: 
Clair J. Howard Public Affairs Officer 406-247-4623
Updated July 20, 2021