A Grover Beach woman is facing a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years to life in prison and a $10 million fine after pleading guilty in federal court to conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine as part of an oil field drug dealing case. [Billings Gazette]
Claudia Norman, 57, allegedly acted as the supplier for methamphetamine dealers in the Bakken oil fields, which span the U.S. states of Montana and North Dakota. One of the co-conspirators in the case is a Santa Maria man, Keith Coffin, who has already received a 10-year prison sentence.
Last week, Norman pleaded guilty during a hearing in the U.S. district court in Billings, Montana. Federal prosecutors said Norman supplied meth to Coffin and another co-conspirator, Timothy Swope of Sidney, Montana. Swope has already been sentenced to 13 years in prison.
Coffin and Swope worked with another person in order to pay Norman. The conspiracy spanned about one year, beginning in late 2015.
On one occasion, Swope and Coffin paid a person in Sidney, Montana more than $11,000 to go to California and buy 3.5 pounds of meth from Norman. Swope, Coffin and others were to resell the meth in the Bakken area, according to the prosecution.
U.S. Magistrate Judge Timothy Cavan said he will recommend that U.S. District Judge Susan Watters accept Norman’s plea and then sentence her. Cavan granted Norman continued release pending sentencing.
One Comment about “Grover Beach woman pleads guilty to involvement in oil field meth ring”
There is no 10 years to life sentence in the federal sentencing guidelines. You would either receive a determinate amount of years, in which you would do 85% of (no parole with the Feds’ either), or you would do life, which provides for no parole.
What will play in the sentencing under the Feds’ “Minimum Mandatory” guidelines is the amount of drugs sold (for a life sentence the guidelines calls for 10.7 pounds of meth’ or more), or if death or serious bodily injury resulted from the use of the drug and if Ms. Norman has had a past conviction of drug trafficking.
The feds’ have a very complicated sentencing system and statistically very seldom hand down a life sentence. If there were enough aggravating circumstance with Ms. Norman, she could receive a lengthy enough sentence that would effectively keep her incarcerated for “life”, as the sentence would be longer than what a 57 year old would be expected to live.
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