Armed Billings meth trafficker sentenced to ten years in prison

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FILE PHOTO: Signage is seen at the United States Department of Justice headquarters in Washington, D.C.

BILLINGS — A Billings man who admitted to dealing methamphetamine from a motel room and to possessing firearms for protection was sentenced on March 16 to 10 years in prison to be followed by five years of supervised release, U.S. Attorney Leif M. Johnson said.

Eric Kendrick Buchanan, 44, of Billings, pleaded guilty in September 2021 to conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute meth.

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

The government alleged in court documents that in 2020, law enforcement learned that Buchanan was selling meth, often from a motel room in Billings, and that he carried a firearm. Agents arranged purchases of meth from Buchanan and also conducted several traffic stops of him. During a stop in October 2020, Buchanan possessed a 9mm firearm, a meth pipe and marijuana. Buchanan told officers he traded meth for the gun. In a November 2020 traffic stop of Buchanan, officers found two 9mm handguns. Buchanan told officers he had obtained the handguns and four ounces of meth to sell from an individual and had the guns for protection. In a December 2020 traffic stop, law enforcement found a 9mm pistol, ammunition and approximately $3,000 in cash. Buchanan told officers he was on his way to buy a pound of meth with the cash. When Buchanan was arrested in February 2021 on the indictment, he had $9,300 cash, which he explained was to pay for a pound of meth he had received the previous week.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Julie R. Patten prosecuted the case, which was investigated by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

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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