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Press Release

North Dakota man sentenced to prison for armed fentanyl trafficking in Great Falls area

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

GREAT FALLS  — A North Dakota man who admitted to trafficking fentanyl in the Great Falls community after law enforcement found hundreds of fentanyl pills and a loaded firearm in a vehicle he was driving, was sentenced today to five years and six months in prison, to be followed by three years of supervised release, U.S. Attorney Jesse Laslovich said.

Kelly Sterling Wait, 45, of Williston, North Dakota, pleaded guilty in January to possession with intent to distribute controlled substances.

Chief U.S. District Judge Brian M. Morris presided.

The government alleged in court documents that in October 2022, Russell Country Drug Task Force agents surveilling a motel room in Great Falls observed Wait and an associate leave the room, get into a vehicle and drive a short distance. Law enforcement officers stopped the vehicle, which Wait was driving. Wait had a loaded 9mm pistol in his immediate possession, 186 fentanyl pills and more than $3,000 in cash. Officers found additional fentanyl pills in the trunk and passenger seat area.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Ethan R. Plaut prosecuted the case, which was investigated by the Russell Country Drug Task Force, Homeland Security Investigations, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, Montana Highway Patrol and Great Falls Police Department.



Clair Johnson Howard

Public Affairs Officer 


Updated May 17, 2023

Project Safe Neighborhoods
Press Release Number: 23-158