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Montana man sentenced to 10 years in federal prison for distributing methamphetamine

MISSOULA, Mont. — A 29-year-old Montana man was sentenced Thursday to 10 years in federal prison following his guilty plea to distributing methamphetamine, announced U.S. Attorney Michael W. Cotter, District of Montana.

This investigation was a cooperative effort among the following agencies: U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), and the Butte Silver Bow Law Enforcement Agency.

William Forrest Paul, of Butte, appeared for sentencing Aug. 8 before Senior U.S. District Judge Dana L. Christensen. Paul was sentenced to 120 months in federal prison and five years of supervised release.

Paul had previously pleaded guilty to conspiracy to distribute 500 or more grams of methamphetamine.

The government would have proved the following at trial:

  • Since November 2010, HSI special agents and officers from the Butte Silver Bow Law Enforcement Agency have been investigating the distribution of methamphetamine in and around Butte by Paul and others, including Gary Sheffield, Julie White, Angella Parker, Michael Young and Paul Tizio.
  • On Jan. 5, 2011, based on information obtained during that investigation, law enforcement officers searched Sheffield’s car and the Sheffield/White residence in Butte. From the house they seized baggies of methamphetamine, surveillance cameras, drug paraphernalia, and a Fed-Ex receipt with Parker’s name on it. The officers found more methamphetamine in Sheffield’s possession during a search of his person and his car outside a nearby casino.
  • Also on Jan. 5, 2011, before the search of Sheffield and White’s residence, Parker was stopped for a traffic violation and admitted to having just purchased an "8-ball" of methamphetamine from Sheffield. She also admitted that during the course of the conspiracy she had received packages of methamphetamine from Tizio in Arizona that were intended for Sheffield and had shipped money to Arizona as payment for the drugs.
  • Following the events of Jan. 5, 2011, law enforcement officers conducted interviews of various witnesses and learned that Tizio was obtaining methamphetamine in Arizona and shipping or otherwise arranging for the transportation of the drugs to Butte. In order to pay for the methamphetamine, money was shipped back to Tizio in Arizona, delivered to him in person, or deposited into his bank account. Paul’s role in the conspiracy was two-fold. He assisted in transporting methamphetamine and money between Arizona and Butte, and he also distributed quantities of methamphetamine in and around Butte that he and Sheffield had received from Tizio in Arizona. Among the records that law enforcement obtained during the investigation was a FedEx airbill documenting Paul’s shipment of a package to Tizio on Nov. 18, 2010.

Gary Sheffield, Julie White, Angella Parker, Michael Young, and Paul Tizio pleaded guilty to federal charges and have been sentenced.

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