Meth trafficking on Northern Cheyenne Indian Reservation sends Ashland man to prison for 10 years

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BILLINGS – An Ashland man who admitted trafficking methamphetamine on the Northern Cheyenne Indian Reservation was sentenced today to 10 years in prison to be followed by five years of supervised release, Acting U.S. Attorney Leif M. Johnson said.

Robert Joseph Speelman, 48, pleaded guilty on Jan. 27 to possession with intent to distribute meth.

U.S. District Judge Susan P. Watters presided.

In court documents filed in the case, the government alleged that on Jan. 21, 2020, a Bureau of Indian Affairs canine officer, while on patrol on the Northern Cheyenne Indian Reservation, saw Speelman, a known drug user and dealer on the reservation, sitting in his truck on the side of the road. Speelman had outstanding tribal warrants. A cursory search by the officer in a subsequent arrest resulted in the recovery of a small amount of meth. There also was a rifle mounted above the back window. The truck was impounded and searched, which resulted in the recovery of about 68 grams of meth, $179 in cash and two more firearms.

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Assistant U.S. Attorney Lori H. Suek prosecuted the case, which was investigated by the Bureau of Indian Affairs.

This case is part of Project Safe Neighborhoods, a U.S. Department of Justice initiative to reduce violent crime. 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.

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