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Press Release

Rhonda Wright Sentenced To Over Nine Years In Prison For Distribution Of Methamphetamine In Great Falls

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

GREAT FALLS) The United States Attorney's Office announced that RHONDA LEE WRIGHT, 48, of Richland, Washington, was sentenced to a term of 110 months' imprisonment, to be followed by five years on supervised release, on June 19, 2014, before U.S. District Judge Brian M. Morris. Wright was sentenced in connection with her March 18, 2014, guilty plea to possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Jessica Betley told the Court in an Offer of Proof that in early February 2012, Great Falls law enforcement received information that a man from the Tri-Cities area in Washington state wanted to sell methamphetamine in Montana where he could obtain a greater profit. Law enforcement introduced an undercover agent into the investigation who learned the man and his wife, Rhonda Wright, the defendant, were willing and able to distribute methamphetamine to purchasers in Great Falls. On February 9, 2012, Wright told the agent that she and her husband would bring methamphetamine to Great Falls and asked for a $2000 up-front payment on a $5000 transaction. She asked that it be sent by "money gram" and provided her full name, the appropriate store, and zip code.

On February 11, 2012, the defendant and her husband traveled to Great Falls where they met the undercover agent. Wright produced a bread crumb container and unscrewed the bottom of the container, revealing a plastic baggie containing methamphetamine. The undercover agent paid an additional $30000 and took the methamphetamine. The methamphetamine from this transaction was sent to the DEA Laboratory. The lab concluded this substance contained 55.3 grams of actual (pure) methamphetamine.

The defendant, her husband, and the undercover agent agreed to meet again in Great Falls on February 14, 2012. After being confronted by law enforcement, agents searched the defendant's car. The largest amount of methamphetamine was concealed in a lemonade can with a hidden compartment under a false top. The DEA laboratory tested this methamphetamine and found in contained 99.9 grams of actual methamphetamine. Agents found an additional 2.9 grams of actual methamphetamine in a Pringles can with a false bottom.

The term "actual" methamphetamine refers to the purity contained in the transacted amount which is usually "cut" with inert ingredients that make the actual product less pure but more profitable as drugs are generally sold based on quantity not quality.

This investigation was conducted by the Great Falls Police Department and the United States Department of Homeland Security, Homeland Security Investigations.

Updated January 14, 2015