Fairview man sentenced in meth conspiracy

2014-06-04T11:50:00Z 2014-08-29T07:26:15Z Fairview man sentenced in meth conspiracyBy CLAIR JOHNSON cjohnson@billingsgazette.com The Billings Gazette

A Fairview man who fed his own addiction by helping to traffic nearly pure methamphetamine in the Bakken region will spend four years in federal prison.

U.S. District Judge Susan P. Watters on Wednesday gave Robert John Ferrell, 52, a break, sentencing him to less than an initial guideline range partly because he has serious medical conditions.

Ferrell’s involvement in a large conspiracy that led to the prosecution of about a dozen people ran for a fairly short period of time, from August 2012 to February 2013, Watters said. He did not help transport the meth from Washington and did not use firearms, she said.

But Ferrell helped distribute more than 50 grams of “very highly pure meth” he got from co-defendant Robert Farrell Armstrong of Moses Lake, Wash., Watters said. What he didn’t use himself, he distributed, she added.

Armstrong is awaiting sentencing next month.

The judge also considered Ferrell’s medical conditions, which include diabetes and liver disease, and noted he has family support.

Ferrell pleaded guilty in February to possession with intent to distribute meth as part of a plea agreement. The judge dismissed four other counts. He admitted distributing meth to a confidential informant, who was working with agents investigating meth trafficking in the Bakken oil fields of Eastern Montana and North Dakota.

Ferrell apologized and said living a sober life has “now become a want and a desire.”

Watters’ sentence was more than the 41 months requested by Ferrell’s defense attorney, Jay Lansing, and less than the 57 months recommended by Assistant U.S. Attorney Lori Suek. Ferrell’s initial guideline range was 78 months to 97 months.

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