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Department of Justice

U.S. Attorney's Office
District of Montana
Jesse Laslovich, United States Attorney
Contact: Clair J. Howard,
For Immediate Release
Friday, January 26, 2024

Wyoming Man Sentenced to 12 Years in Prison for Meth Trafficking in Miles City Area

BILLINGS, Mont. — A Wyoming man who admitted to trafficking methamphetamine in the Miles City area was sentenced today to 12 years in prison, to be followed by 5 years of supervised release, U.S. Attorney Jesse Laslovich said.

Elmer Richard Petersen, 45, of Gillette, Wyoming, pleaded guilty in September 2023 to possession with intent to distribute controlled substances and prohibited person in possession of a firearm.

U.S. District Judge Susan P. Watters presided.

The government alleged in court documents that in October 2021, law enforcement stopped Petersen in Miles City upon information that he was trafficking drugs. He was released from the scene and his car was seized. Officers executed a state search warrant on the car and recovered a 9mm pistol, approximately three pounds of meth and $10,000 cash. In December 2021, police received a tip that Petersen was back in Miles City. Officers located Petersen at a local hotel and attempted to arrest him on a warrant from Wyoming. Petersen fled but was arrested after a short foot chase. The arresting officer located a .380-caliber pistol in Petersen’s pocket. Petersen was prohibited from possessing firearms because of a prior felony conviction in Wyoming.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office prosecuted the case. The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, Drug Enforcement Administration, Montana Division of Criminal Investigation, Montana Highway Patrol and Miles City Police Department 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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