MISSOULA — A Spokane, WA, man who admitted possessing firearms while trafficking methamphetamine after law enforcement officers found the items in his backpack was sentenced today to 12 years in prison and five years of supervised release, U.S. Attorney Kurt Alme said.
Lance Howard Garett, 42, pleaded guilty in April to possession with intent to distribute meth and to possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime.
U.S. District Judge Donald W. Molloy presided.
The prosecution said in court documents filed in the case that on Sept. 21, 2019 in Granite County, a Montana Highway Patrol officer searched Garett’s backpack after a vehicle pursuit of a motorcycle driven by Garett. In Garett’s backpack were two handguns, meth and heroin. Garett admitted to law enforcement that he had fled because he possessed the guns and drugs.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Tara Elliott prosecuted the case, which was investigated by the Drug Enforcement Administration and the Montana Highway Patrol.
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.