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Department of Justice

U.S. Attorney's Office
District of Montana
Jesse Laslovich, United States Attorney
For Immediate Release
Wednesday, May 1, 2024

Washington Man Sentenced to 5 Years in Prison for Fentanyl Trafficking in Great Falls Area

GREAT FALLS — A Washington man who admitted to bringing large quantities of fentanyl pills to the Great Falls area and other Montana cities for redistribution was sentenced today to five years in prison, to be followed by five years of supervised release, U.S. Attorney Jesse Laslovich said.

The defendant, Joseph Allen Conner, aka Street, 40, of Yakima, Washington, pleaded guilty in December 2023 to conspiracy to distribute and to possess with intent to distribute controlled substances.

Chief U.S. District Judge Brian M. Morris presided.

In court documents, the government alleged that on June 23, 2023, in University Place, Washington, law enforcement executed a federal search warrant on Conner’s residence and recovered pills, a money counter, firearms, and ammunition. Conner admitted in an interview that beginning in September 2022, he made multiple trips to Montana, including to Great Falls, Missoula, Lincoln, and Haugen, to sell fentanyl and other controlled substances. The investigation determined that Conner distributed large amounts of pills to multiple sources and possessed “buckets full” of fentanyl pills. Conner also mailed large amounts of pills to distributors and was seen with what an individual described as a “volleyball size bag” of pills. Law enforcement also seized approximately 1,500 fentanyl pills and meth from a vehicle being driven by a co-conspirator and determined that the drugs came from Conner.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Tara J. Elliott prosecuted the case. The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, Drug Enforcement Administration, Homeland Security Investigations, Great Falls Police Department and Russell Country Drug Task Force conducted the investigation.

This case is part of Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN), a program bringing together all levels of law enforcement and the communities they serve to reduce violent crime and gun violence, and to make our neighborhoods safer for everyone. On May 26, 2021, the Department launched a violent crime reduction strategy strengthening PSN based on these core principles: fostering trust and legitimacy in our communities, supporting community-based organizations that help prevent violence from occurring in the first place, setting focused and strategic enforcement priorities, and measuring the results.


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