Missoula, MT (KGVO-AM News) - The following are details on Montana federal court cases in Missoula, Billings, and Great Falls over the past week:

A Missoula Man Sentenced on Drug Charges in Federal Court

In Missoula Federal Court this week, a Missoula man who admitted to trafficking methamphetamine after law enforcement found the drug in a backpack he had discarded was sentenced on Monday to 11 years in prison, to be followed by five years of supervised release, U.S. Attorney Jesse Laslovich said today.

Robert Dean Spearson, 40, pleaded guilty in July to possession with intent to distribute meth.

The government alleged in court documents that on Nov. 21, 2021, members of the Montana Violent Offenders Task Force attempted to arrest Spearson in Missoula. Spearson fled from officers and was found and arrested in an apartment. The apartment’s owner said Spearson has been in possession of a black backpack. Officers located the backpack and found approximately 77 grams of meth in separate baggies, a digital scale, empty small plastic baggies, a safe key, $660 cash, a laptop that listed Spearson as the user. An empty holster was attached to the outside of the backpack.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Jennifer S. Clark prosecuted the case. The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and Missoula Police Department conducted the investigation and U.S. District Judge Donald W. Molloy presided.

A Great Falls Man Sentenced in a Medicaid Fraud Case

In Great Falls Federal Court, a Great Falls man who admitted to lying about his income to receive more than $75,000 in Medicaid health care benefits was fined $70,000 and sentenced to three years of probation this week, U.S. Attorney Jesse Laslovich said.

Dustin Tempel, 39, pleaded guilty in June to health care fraud.

Chief U.S. District Judge Brian M. Morris presided. The court also ordered $75,493 restitution.

In court documents, the government alleged that during an investigation of Temple’s mother, Lynn Temple, for fraudulently inflating construction costs while building a home for a client in Great Falls, investigators learned that Tempel had underreported his income by more than $300,000 during a five-year period. During the period of underreporting, Temple applied for Medicaid, again underrepresenting his actual income. As a result, Temple received $75,493 from Medicaid that he was not entitled to receive from 2017 to 2020. Medicaid is a federal health care benefit program that provides health coverage to millions of Americans, including eligible low-income adults, children, pregnant women and elderly adults with disabilities. Lynn Temple, who was the finance manager for William Tempel Construction, was sentenced in April 2022 to 14 months in federal prison and ordered to pay $415,221 restitution for conviction on wire fraud.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Ryan G. Weldon prosecuted the case. The FBI conducted the investigation.

A Drive By Shooting Sends a Harlem Man to Prison

Also in Great Falls federal court this week, a  Harlem man who admitted to shooting into an occupied house in Fort Belknap Agency on the Fort Belknap Indian Reservation was sentenced to 18 months in prison, to be followed by three years of supervised release, U.S. Attorney Jesse Laslovich said.

Tyree Daniel Doney, 22, pleaded guilty in June to assault with a dangerous weapon.

Chief U.S. District Judge Brian M. Morris presided. The court also ordered $3,900 restitution.

In court documents, the government alleged that on Jan. 19, a man, identified as John Doe, was inside his residence with his family, including two children. John Doe heard multiple gunshots, and one bullet lodged inside his residence. John Doe feared that he or his family would be harmed from the drive-by shooting. Law enforcement learned that Doney was in the area at the time of the shooting, and Doney ultimately admitted to firing the gunshots into John Doe’s home. Doney did so, in part, because Doney was upset about a physical fight he had with John Doe four months prior. Officers recovered 9mm casings outside John Doe’s residence, 9mm casings inside Doney’s vehicle and the 9mm firearm inside Doney’s residence.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Ryan G. Weldon prosecuted the case. The FBI conducted the investigation.

It is important to note that persons sentenced in federal court cases are not eligible for parole, and must serve their entire sentence.

The information in this article was obtained from sources that are publicly viewable. 

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