A Billings man was sentenced to more than six years in prison after admitting to supplying methamphetamine for a staged drug deal in Laurel.
Patrick Bryan Cleveland, 39, of Billings, pleaded guilty in January in the U.S. District Court of Montana to a distribution of meth charge after supplying meth for a drug deal with a confidential informant in June 2019.
U.S. District Judge Susan P. Watters presided, and Cleveland faces six years in prison and four years of supervised release, according to a press release from U.S. Attorney for Montana Kurt Alme.
In court documents, drug task force agents met with a confidential informant about drug trafficking in the Laurel and Billings areas and arranged for the informant to buy meth from co-defendant Shawna Bercier, of Laurel. Law enforcement observed the informant buying about two grams of meth from Bercier in June 2019.
The informant bought one ounce of meth from Bercier in another controlled buy, where Bercier advised the informant she would be getting the meth from "Pat" and that it was worth the wait. Cleveland arrived at Bercier's workplace and provided her with a cigarette box that contained about an ounce of meth, which was given to the informant.
Agents followed Cleveland's vehicle to a Billings residence, where a third co-defendant, Lynn Kuntz, lived. Kuntz had been identified as a source of supply for meth.
Bercier and Kuntz have pleaded guilty to charges in the case and are awaiting sentencing, the release states.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Julie Patten prosecuted the case, which was investigated by the Eastern Montana High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area Task Force.
This case is part of Project Safe Neighborhoods, a U.S. Department of Justice initiative to reduce violent crime. According to the FBI’s Uniform Crime Reports, violent crime in Montana increased by 36% from 2013 to 2018. 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.