GREAT FALLS — A Great Falls woman who admitted trafficking methamphetamine after law enforcement found five pounds of the drug and a gun in her vehicle was sentenced today to 12 years in prison and five years of supervised release, Acting U.S. Attorney Leif Johnson said.
Opal Inez Cox, 40, pleaded guilty on Oct. 6, 2020 to conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute meth and to possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime.
Chief U.S. District Judge Brian M. Morris presided. Chief Judge Morris ordered Cox detained.
The prosecution said in court documents that law enforcement learned Cox was distributing meth in Montana and stopped her vehicle as she returned to the state from Las Vegas, Nevada, in December 2019. Law enforcement found about five pounds of meth and a 9mm pistol hidden together in the center console of the car. Five pounds of meth is the equivalent of 18,120 doses.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Ryan Weldon prosecuted the case, which was investigated by the Montana Division of Criminal Investigation, FBI, IRS and Drug Enforcement Administration.
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 48% from 2013 through 2019. 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.