Meth trafficker sentenced to 12 years in prison in Billings conspiracy

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MISSOULA – A man convicted in a methamphetamine conspiracy in which he helped bring the drug to Billings for distribution was sentenced today to 12 years in prison to be followed by five years of supervised release, Acting U.S. Attorney Leif M. Johnson said.

James Moe McPhail, 35, unknown hometown, pleaded guilty on March 4 to conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute meth. McPhail was detained.

U.S. District Judge Dana L. Christensen presided.

In court documents filed in the case, the government alleged that in July 2019, law enforcement learned that McPhail, while incarcerated at Crossroads Correction Center, was in contact with co-defendant, Todd William Weidler, to arrange for delivery of meth to Weidler in Billings. Investigators also learned that Weidler always had meth on hand, could usually sell ounces in a matter of minutes and conducted all of his business from his BMW or Range Rover in parking lots.

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In September 2019, law enforcement searched Weidler’s residence, vehicles and storage units and recovered meth and approximately $11,900 in currency. Law enforcement estimated Weidler distributed at least 1,153.3 grams, or about 2.5 pounds, which is the equivalent of about 9,060 doses. Weidler was sentenced to 10 years in prison for conviction in the case.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Jennifer S. Clark prosecuted the case, which was investigated by the Montana Department of Corrections, Eastern Montana High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area Task Force and the Drug Enforcement Administration.

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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