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Montana man who told arresting officers he was ‘not going without a fight’ sentenced in meth trafficking case

May 27, 2017  |  Posted by: Francesca Falzarano
Montana man who told arresting officers he was ‘not going without a fight’ sentenced in meth trafficking case Thomas Smith

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A Billings, Montana man, who with his brother, continued trafficking large quantities of meth after a search of their residence led to the seizure of meth, guns, and roughly $17,000 in cash, has been sentenced to 20 years in federal prison.

Thomas Dean Smith, 43, was sentenced on Wednesday after U.S. District Judge Susan Watters rejected a defense attempt that tried to argue that Smith was simply a drug addict dealing meth to support his habit, the Billings-Gazette reported.

While Smith’s part in the conspiracy was less than his brother’s, Duane Timothy Smith Jr., Watters said there was no doubt that he knew what was going on and was “involved.”

When arrested in 2016, Smith had meth in his possession along with two firearms, both with loaded magazines. Smith also told the officers that arrested him that he was “not going without a fight.”

Duane Timothy Smith Jr

“Locking you for 20 years is sufficient,” Watters said to the man.

In December, Smith pleaded guilty to conspiracy to distribute meth and possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug crime.

Smith faced a guideline span of between 17 to 21 years on the drug charge plus a mandatory five years on the firearm count. He has a previous conviction for neglecting to register as a sex offender.

Prosecutor Brendan McCarthy suggested a high-end sentence of over 26 years.

Defense attorney Vern Woodward requested ten years in total.

Thomas Dean Smith

Woodward opposed the quantity of meth that prosecutors attributed to Smith.

Evidence presented by the prosecution indicated that the conspiracy involved pounds of meth that were being supplied to the Smiths from September 2015 to April 2016.

Watters ultimately held Smith responsible for over 4.5 kilos, which is approximately 10 pounds.

The Smith brothers were charged after agents with the Eastern Montana Drug task force, with assistance from a local SWAT team, carried out a search warrant in September 2015 at their residence. Authorities seized close to 12 ounces of meth, $17,121 in cash, 14 firearms, video surveillance equipment, drug ledgers and packaging materials.

A task force agent testified at the hearing that surveillance cameras spanned a 360-degree view of the outside of the home. Additionally, agents discovered a sawed-off shotgun by the door, which belonged to a nephew who worked as the doorman.

The agent also indicated that through a separate investigation, investigators learned that the Smith brothers had moved after the September search to two other homes, and were continuing to sell drugs and possess firearms.

Smith apologized for hurting his loved ones and is taking responsibility for his actions.

Smith’s brother, Duane, is scheduled for sentencing on June 7th for the same crimes.

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