U.S. Attorney's Office
District of Montana
(406) 657-6101
September 29, 2014

North Dakota Man Gets 30 Years for Trafficking More Than 30 Pounds of Meth in Bakken Area

BUTTE, MO—A 48-year-old Minot, North Dakota man who trafficked over 34 pounds in and around Montana was sentenced to 30 years in federal prison. United States District Court Sam Haddon sentenced Lloyd Nickle to 360 months in prison, followed by a term of five years’ supervised release. A federal jury made up of Montana citizens found Nickle guilty on June 11, 2014, following a trial in Butte. He was convicted of conspiracy to possess with the intent to distribute methamphetamine and possession with the intent to distribute methamphetamine.

Nickle’s 30-year sentence sends a clear message to all those engaging in criminal enterprise in and around the Bakken,” said Montana U.S. Attorney Mike Cotter. “If you push poison in Montana, you will pay the price. Meth traffickers are in the despicable business of destroying individuals, families, and placing Montana’s public in danger. The Department of Justice and the U.S. Attorney’s Office are committed to the relentless fight against drug distribution in Big Sky Country.”

The FBI recognizes the positive impact of coordinated law enforcement efforts pertaining to drug trafficking in multi-jurisdictional areas,” said Mary Rook, FBI Special Agent in Charge of the Salt Lake City Division. “This case illustrates incredible results based on the cooperation of all of the involved agencies.”

Nickle was engaged in the methamphetamine conspiracy from June 2012 until January 2014. During the course of the conspiracy, Nickle purchased large amounts of methamphetamine from sources in California for distribution in Montana and North Dakota. Nickle, who is from Minot, North Dakota, would send partial payments for the methamphetamine by Federal Express to the sources and then make arrangements to meet the sources in various locations to complete the transactions. These meetings occurred in Butte, Dillon, Elko, Nevada, Caldwell, Idaho and Sacramento, California. Nickle and his fellow conspirators would then transport the methamphetamine to Butte, Billings, and other locations in Montana and North Dakota for distribution. Nickle was found responsible for the possession and distribution of at least 34 pounds of methamphetamine over the course of the conspiracy.

Von Rackham, one of Nickle’s co-conspirators was previously sentenced to 135 months’ imprisonment. Margaret Silvia, another co-conspirator, was sentenced to 100 months, and Leonard Ewalt was sentenced to 138 months. Nickle was acquitted by the jury of a gun charge.

The prosecution was part of Project Safe Bakken, a cooperative effort between federal and state prosecutors and federal, state, local, and tribal law enforcement agencies in Montana and North Dakota. The case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Montana Division of Criminal Investigations and the Butte-Silver Bow Law Enforcement Department.

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