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Justice News

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

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Washington Man Sentenced to Over 5 Years in Prison for Drug Offense

MISSOULA – Eric David Fletcher, a 36-year-old resident of Washougal, Washington, was sentenced today to 66 months in prison followed by 5 years supervised release after pleading guilty to conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute a controlled substance.  U.S. District Judge Dana Christensen handed down the sentence.

On December 12, 2014, Montana Division of Criminal Investigation (“MTDCI”) completed a controlled drug purchase wherein a Confidential Source (“CHS”) purchased approximately three ounces of methamphetamine for $3,300.00 from Judy Collins and her supplier/son, Eric Fletcher.  They met at the La Quinta Inn in Butte, Montana to do the transaction.  The CHS and Fletcher discussed future purchases of approximately a half-pound of methamphetamine and discussed meeting halfway between Butte and Washington for the transaction.  Fletcher also stated that he would normally pick up at least a half-pound on a regular basis and bring it over to Butte for resale.  That methamphetamine was later sent to the DEA Western Regional Laboratory.  Analysis of the drug evidence revealed 81.4 grams of actual methamphetamine with a purity of 97.8%.

On January 24, 2015, the FBI and MTDCI used the same CHS to communicate with Fletcher.  They learned that Fletcher was on his way from Washington to Montana with a drug load.  The CHS advised investigators that Fletcher would be soon arriving in Saint Regis, Montana.  Investigators saw Fletcher’s vehicle exit the highway and enter the Motel 6 parking lot. Officers conducted a traffic stop of Fletcher’s car.  As officers patted Fletcher down for weapons/officer safety they discovered a plastic baggie containing suspected heroin.  A search warrant for Fletcher’s vehicle was obtained and executed by officers.  The search resulted in officers finding a .22 caliber pistol, ten rounds of .22 caliber ammunition, a digital scale, and a plastic baggie containing suspected methamphetamine. The suspected methamphetamine found in Fletcher’s car was later sent to the DEA Western Regional Laboratory for testing and revealed that there was 108.5 grams of methamphetamine with a purity of 98.2%.  After the traffic stop, Fletcher waived his rights and agreed to talk with investigators.  He admitted his role in the drug conspiracy.  He told investigators that he had made approximately 12 to 18 trips from Washington to Montana beginning in September or October of 2014 and that he had distributed between three and eight ounces each time he made the trip.  Fletcher further told investigators that he still owed his source of supply in Washington money because of methamphetamine that had been fronted to him.

Fletcher’s co-conspirator Judy Collins previously pled guilty to drug trafficking on August 10, 2016, and was sentenced to 72 months in prison.

The case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Bryan R. Whittaker and investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Montana Division of Criminal Investigation.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office is partnering with federal, state, local and tribal law enforcement to identify those responsible for significant violent crime in Montana.  A centerpiece of this effort is Project Safe Neighborhoods, a recently reinvigorated Department of Justice program that has proven to be successful in reducing violent crime.  Today’s sentencing is part of the Project Safe Neighborhoods program.

Project Safe Neighborhoods
KERI LEGGETT (406) 761-7715
Updated January 31, 2018