Browning man sentenced to prison for manslaughter in death of woman struck by vehicle on Blackfeet Indian Reservation
GREAT FALLS — A Spokane, Washington, woman suspected of being a longtime methamphetamine dealer in and around the Rocky Boy’s Indian Reservation today admitted trafficking charges, Acting U.S. Attorney Leif Johnson said.
Kristina Dawn Russette, 30, pleaded guilty to possession with intent to distribute meth. Russette faces a minimum mandatory 10 years to life in prison, a $10 million fine and at least five years of supervised release.
Chief U.S. District Judge Brian M. Morris presided. Chief Judge Morris set sentencing for June 2 and continued Russette’s detention.
According to court documents filed by the government, law enforcement officers in 2019 and 2020 learned from multiple individuals that Russette was supplying methamphetamine from the Spokane area to individuals on the Rocky Boy’s Indian Reservation.
The documents allege that in May 2020, Russette was driving a vehicle stopped in Washington for traffic violations. The vehicle was searched pursuant to a tribal search warrant and Russette’s consent and probation conditions. In a purse in the rear seating area were multiple bags containing suspected methamphetamine. A passenger in the vehicle stated that he and Russette had picked up those drugs in Spokane. The DEA determined the drugs from this seizure contained about 746.8 grams, or about 1.6 pounds, of actual methamphetamine.
FBI investigators also obtained information from multiple Facebook accounts in which Russette had used slang or code to communicate about drugs and to arrange for the distribution of drugs.
Additional individuals interviewed by the FBI identified Russette as a longtime supplier of large quantities of meth to persons on and around the Rocky Boy’s Indian Reservation.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Ethan Plaut is prosecuting the case, which was investigated by the FBI, Chippewa Cree Law Enforcement Services, Tri-Agency Drug Task Force, Bureau of Indian Affairs, Kalispel Tribe Public Safety Department in Washington and the Airway Heights Police Department in Washington.
This case is part of Project Safe Neighborhoods, a U.S. Department of Justice initiative to reduce violent crime. According to the FBI’s Uniform Crime Reports, violent crime in Montana increased by 48% from 2013 to 2019. 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.
Clair Johnson Howard
Public Affairs Officer