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Montana man sentenced to more than 13 years in federal prison for distributing methamphetamine

BUTTE, Mont. — A Montana man was sentenced Friday to 13 years and four months in federal prison for conspiracy to possess with the intent to distribute methamphetamine.

This sentence was announced by U.S. Attorney Michael W. Cotter, District of Montana. This investigation was a cooperative effort between U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), the Butte-Silver Bow Law Enforcement Services, and the Drug Enforcement Administration Lab.

Following his guilty plea, Leonard Laverne Ewalt Jr., a 42-year-old resident of Butte, was sentenced to 160 months in prison and five years of supervised release.

In an Offer of Proof filed by Assistant U.S. Attorney Paulette L. Stewart, the government stated it would have proved at trial the following:

  • From about February 2008 until July 2012, Ewalt and numerous others possessed with the intent to distribute methamphetamine in Butte and other places in Montana. The methamphetamine came from Las Vegas and other places from outside the state of Montana for distribution by Ewalt and others.
  • Ewalt admitted to this conduct when interviewed by law enforcement. Ewalt admitted that the full scope of his criminal conduct included possessing with the intent to distribute about 24 pounds of methamphetamine with other people.
  • This information was confirmed through the interview of other witnesses. Money Gram records also confirmed Ewalt's admissions.

Because there is no parole in the federal system, the "truth in sentencing" guidelines mandate that Ewalt will likely serve all of the time imposed by the court. In the federal system, Ewalt does have the opportunity to earn a sentence reduction for good behavior. However, this reduction will not exceed 15 percent of the overall sentence.