BILLINGS – A Billings man admitted methamphetamine trafficking crimes today after law enforcement officers seized about eight pounds of the drug and three handguns from his vehicle, U.S. Attorney Kurt Alme said.
Tyler James Fleming, 38, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute meth and to possession with intent to distribute meth. Fleming faces a mandatory minimum 10 years to life in prison, a $10 million fine and at least five years of supervised release.
Fleming has pleaded not guilty to a count charging him with possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime, and that charge is pending.
U.S. Magistrate Judge Timothy J. Cavan presided. Fleming was detained. A sentencing date has not yet been set.
Court documents filed by the prosecution said that in 2019, drug task force officers received information from sources that Fleming was trafficking drugs in the Billings area. In December 2019, investigators learned Fleming had traveled to Arizona and returned two days later. Officers conducted a traffic stop of Fleming’s vehicle outside of Miles City and obtained a search warrant for the vehicle. Officers found about 3,700 grams of meth, which is 8.15 pounds and the equivalent of approximately 29,600 doses, drug paraphernalia and three handguns.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Julie Patten is prosecuting 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.