GREAT FALLS — A Billings woman suspected of trafficking methamphetamine and fentanyl on the Rocky Boy’s Indian Reservation admitted to charges today, U.S. Attorney Jesse Laslovich said.
Chantel Marie Azure, 33, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to distribute and to possess with intent to distribute controlled substances. Azure faces a mandatory minimum five years to 40 years in prison, a $5 million fine and at least four years of supervised release.
Chief U.S. District Judge Brian M. Morris presided. Chief Judge Morris set sentencing for Dec. 1. The court will determine a sentence after considering the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors. Azure was detained pending further proceedings.
In court documents, the government alleged that from about December 2020 through January 2021, at Havre and on the Rocky Boy’s Indian Reservation, Azure conspired with others to distribute meth and fentanyl. In January 2021, an informant working with law enforcement made a controlled purchase of 10 suspected fentanyl pills for $800 from Azure. The transaction involved Azure driving, with two male passengers, to a location and doing the drug deal in the informant’s car. Law enforcement continued surveillance of Azure and watched her engage in what appeared to be another transaction with a known local drug user. Law enforcement then stopped Azure’s vehicle, and identified the two other passengers, who ultimately were arrested. Cash from the controlled buy was found on the passengers. One of the passengers had meth and fentanyl pills the other passenger had a smaller bag of meth. A search warrant for Azure’s Facebook accounts recovered evidence of Azure trafficking both meth and pills.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Ethan R. Plaut is prosecuting the case, which was investigated by the Tri Agency Task Force, Drug Enforcement Administration and Havre Police Department.
This case is part of Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN), a program bringing together all levels of law enforcement and the communities they serve to reduce violent crime and gun violence, and to make our neighborhoods safer for everyone. On May 26, 2021, the Department launched a violent crime reduction strategy strengthening PSN based on these core principles: fostering trust and legitimacy in our communities, supporting community-based organizations that help prevent violence from occurring in the first place, setting focused and strategic enforcement priorities, and measuring the results.