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GAZETTE STAFF

The last of eight defendants charged in conspiracy to make methamphetamine appeared for arraignment Thursday in U.S. District Court. Conway Hendrickson, 42, pleaded not guilty to all five counts in the indictment even though he is named in just two because he could be held responsible for all charges.

Magistrate Richard Anderson set a detention hearing for Hendrickson on Monday.

The indictment alleges that Hendrickson and seven others conspired to manufacture more than 50 grams of methamphetamine in Billings and Butte from the fall of 2000 until the fall of 2001. Hendrickson is charged in the conspiracy and in a count stating that he made more than 50 grams of the drug in Butte in May 2001.

Co-defendants who have appeared in the case include Dene Burton Galarneau, 34; Mickey McGee, 44; Tana Myhre, 36; Staci Biernbaum, 33; Shannon Marie Balbec, 32; Paul Delaware; and Jack Hall Taylor, 29.

Also in court Thursday, U.S. District Judge Richard Cebull sentenced Francisco Lira, 30, of Twin Lakes, Minn., to three years and one month in prison for possessing 28.4 grams of methamphetamine on May 8, 2000. Agents with the Drug Enforcement Agency stopped Lira’s vehicle near Stewart Park, believing he was someone else and saw him reach under the seat of his vehicle. Fearing he was reaching for a gun, agents got him out of the vehicle and checked. They found an ounce of methamphetamine and no gun.

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