BILLINGS — A Billings woman who admitted having five firearms while trafficking methamphetamine in the community was sentenced today to eight years in prison and five years of supervised release, U.S. Attorney Kurt Alme said.
Amber Lynn Lanphear, 35, pleaded guilty in February to conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute meth and to possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime.
U.S. District Judge Susan Watters presided.
The prosecution said in court documents that law enforcement received information in 2018 that Lanphear was an armed drug trafficker in Billings and was bringing large amounts of meth to Billings from Colorado. Officers began surveilling Lanphear’s movements, and in December 2018, saw her leave her residence in a vehicle and make several short stops and meet with unidentified individuals. In addition, Lanphear used a social media account to send messages in January 2019 saying she was taking “pre-orders” and “heading south.” One message included a photograph of what appeared to be a large crystal of meth. Law enforcement learned about a drug run in which Lanphear returned from Colorado on Jan. 19, 2019. Officers executed a search warrant on Lanphear’s residence on Jan. 22, 2019 and found a total of five firearms in her residence and vehicle and about 32 grams of pure meth.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Karla Painter prosecuted the case, which was investigated by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.
This case is part of Project Guardian, the U.S. Department of Justice’s recent initiative to reduce gun violence and enforce federal firearms laws, and Project Safe Neighborhoods, the USDOJ’s initiative to reduce violent crime. According to the FBI’s Uniform Crime Reports, violent crime in Montana increased by 36% from 2013 through 2018. Through these initiatives, 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.