Two persons charged in large-scale meth trafficking ring centered on Crow Indian Reservation admit charges
For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, District of Montana
BILLINGS — A man and a woman accused in large-scale, multi-state drug investigation centered on the Crow Indian Reservation admitted to trafficking methamphetamine, U.S. Attorney Jesse Laslovich said today.
Darlon Richard Lefthand, 37, of Hardin, pleaded guilty today to possession with intent to distribute meth. Darlon Lefthand faces a mandatory minimum of 10 years in prison, a $10 million fine and at least five years of supervised release.
U.S. Magistrate Judge Timothy J. Cavan presided. A sentencing date will be set before U.S. District Judge Susan P. Watters. Darlon Lefthand was detained pending further proceedings.
Frederica Lefthand, 52, of Lodge Grass, a co-defendant, pleaded guilty on Aug. 23 to possession with intent to distribute meth and to conspiracy to commit money laundering. Frederica Lefthand faces a mandatory minimum of 10 years to life in prison, a $10 million fine and at least five years of supervised release.
U.S. District Judge Susan P. Watters presided. The court set sentencing for Frederica Lefthand for Jan. 4, 2024 and ordered her detained pending further proceedings.
The court will determine any sentence for both defendants after considering the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.
In court documents, the government alleged that federal law enforcement, in a collaborative effort with local and tribal law enforcement, investigated a large-scale, multi-state narcotics trafficking operation centered on multiple properties on the Crow Indian Reservation. The properties, including one known as Spear Siding, were a source of supply of meth for both the Crow and Northern Cheyenne Indian Reservations.
Darlon Lefthand is one of the individuals affiliated with the investigation. The government alleged that Darlon Lefthand would receive meth from these locations and would redistribute it. In September 2022, law enforcement conducted a controlled purchase of approximately one ounce of meth from Darlon Lefthand.
The government further alleged that Frederica Lefthand occupied the Spear Siding property and that she and other co-defendants stored meth on the property. The investigation determined that Frederica Lefthand was the source of supply for several co-defendants. In addition, law enforcement conducted two controlled purchases of meth from Frederica Lefthand in September 2022. On April 1, 2023, Frederica Lefthand was arrested following a vehicle pursuit and was found to be in possession of meth and a handgun. Frederica Lefthand admitted to selling meth to several individuals throughout the investigation. In addition, the government alleged that from June 2022 to February 2023, Frederica Lefthand made several wire transfers of money from drug transactions to an individual in Washington.
Assistant U.S. Attorneys are prosecuting the case. The Bureau of Indian Affairs, Drug Enforcement Administration and FBI conducted the investigation.
This case is part of Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN), a program bringing together all levels of law enforcement and the communities they serve to reduce violent crime and gun violence, and to make our neighborhoods safer for everyone. On May 26, 2021, the Department launched a violent crime reduction strategy strengthening PSN based on these core principles: fostering trust and legitimacy in our communities, supporting community-based organizations that help prevent violence from occurring in the first place, setting focused and strategic enforcement priorities, and measuring the results.
Clair Johnson Howard
Public Affairs Officer
Updated August 24, 2023
Press Release Number: 23-326
Indian Country Law and Justice