James F. Battin Federal Courthouse

James F. Battin Federal Courthouse

CASEY PAGE, Gazette Staff

A federal judge in Billings sentenced a California man to 10 years in prison on Wednesday for his role in a large meth trafficking scheme that brought the drug to Sidney and the Bakken oil fields.

U.S. District Judge Susan Watters told defendant Keith Preston Coffin, 32, of Santa Maria, California, that he deserved a long term because he dealt in large amounts of meth, had it brought to Montana from California and profited from the misery of addicts.

The sentence was shorter than the 14-year recommendation by the prosecution and longer than the five-year minimum mandatory sought by the defense. The guideline range was 14 years to about 17 years.

Coffin said he planned to take advantage of treatment and training programs in prison.

Coffin pleaded guilty in March to a conspiracy count, which accused him of working with others to bring meth to Sidney for distribution in the Bakken oil fields. The conspiracy ran for about a year, from December 2015 until December 2016.

Prosecutors said Coffin and co-defendant Timothy Dallas Swope provided $11,000 to another person in Sidney to travel to California for meth in December 2015. That person bought 3.5 pounds of meth from a supplier known to Coffin.

However, law enforcement in Idaho stopped and arrested the person on the return trip and found the meth and other evidence in the person’s vehicle, prosecutors said.

Confidential sources also told investigators how Coffin was a meth supplier and that he sold ounce-quantities to another person for resale.

Swope, of Sidney, pleaded guilty to a conspiracy count and is awaiting sentencing on Nov. 8.

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Federal court and county reporter for The Billings Gazette.