James F. Battin Federal Courthouse

James F. Battin Federal Courthouse

CASEY PAGE, Gazette Staff

A federal judge on Wednesday sentenced a Billings man to five years in prison after he admitted to possessing up to about two pounds of meth for distribution.

U.S. District Judge Susan Watters followed a defense recommendation and sentenced Steven Griggs, 37, to five years, which was the minimum mandatory term.

Griggs pleaded guilty in June to possession with intent to distribute as part of a plea deal. He was among three people indicted in a meth conspiracy in 2016.

Although Griggs was facing a guideline range of about 10 years to 12 years, Watters agreed to a shorter sentence as recommended by Sandy Selvey, Griggs’ attorney. She allowed him to self surrender when assigned to a prison.

Selvey said Griggs, despite his criminal record, had worked to change his life and cooperated with law enforcement.

Griggs told the judge he is committed to his wife and family and to living a life without drugs.

Assistant U.S. Attorney John Sullivan recommended an 11-year sentence. While Griggs cooperated with law enforcement and has followed release conditions while the case was pending, he also has a lengthy criminal record that includes eight felony convictions, he said.

Griggs also was held responsible for trafficking up to two pounds of meth, he said.

Sullivan said earlier that Griggs distributed meth he got from co-defendant Sherry Lynn Murphy, whom he had met at the Lover’s Playground in Billings earlier in the year. Overall, Griggs estimated that Murphy supplied him with up to two pounds of meth and that he paid $700 per ounce.

Murphy, along with co-defendant, Joshua Joseph Ostermiller, are awaiting sentencing in the case.

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Federal court and county reporter for The Billings Gazette.