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After law enforcement seizes 10 pounds of meth destined for Butte, men admit meth trafficking crimes

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Posted at 4:54 PM, Jun 02, 2021
and last updated 2021-06-03 11:05:45-04

MISSOULA — After law enforcement officials recovered a package containing 10 lbs of methamphetamine bound for Butte, two men accused of trafficking the drug have pleaded guilty to charges in a pair of cases.

According to the Department of Justice, in two separate cases, the men accused of trafficking methamphetamine in Montana admitted to charges Wednesday after law enforcement recovered a package containing 10 pounds of the drug that was addressed to his residence in Butte, Acting U.S. Attorney Leif M. Johnson said.

Steven Douglas Shipe, 52, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute meth. Shipe faces a mandatory minimum of 10 years to life in prison, a $10 million fine, and at least five years of supervised release.

David Ray Shaver, 33, Butte, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute meth. Shaver faces a mandatory minimum of 10 years to life in prison, a $10 million fine, and at least five years of supervised release.

Shaver admitted to trafficking methamphetamine in Montana after telling law enforcement that he received meth totaling 10 pounds in two separate packages and worked with others to distribute the drug, Acting U.S. Attorney Leif M. Johnson said.

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David Ray Shaver

U.S. Magistrate Judge Kathleen L. DeSoto presided. Sentencing was set for Sept. 29. Shipe was released pending further proceedings.

The government alleged in court documents that law enforcement learned Shipe was involved in drug trafficking in Montana and purchased about one ounce of meth from Shipe on June 19, 2019. Law enforcement also learned that Shipe was receiving packages of meth in the mail. Investigators recovered a package containing approximately 10 pounds of meth that was addressed to Shipe’s residence in Butte. Ten pounds of meth is the equivalent of 36,240 doses. The drugs were intercepted in Bakersfield, California, and the shipping label reflected that the parcel was sent from another individual in that city. In addition, Shipe used local co-conspirators to arrange and help with the meth deals. In many instances, local co-conspirators would bring prospective buyers to Shipe’s house to complete the transactions.

In court documents in the Shaver case, the government alleged that law enforcement learned Shaver was involved in drug trafficking in Montana and was accepting packages of meth through the mail and then distributing the drug. When interviewed, Shaver admitted to purchasing meth for $6,000 a pound. He also said he accepted one package containing six pounds of meth in December 2018 and another package containing four pounds of meth in January 2019. The government further alleged that Shaver worked with other co-conspirators to distribute meth from about August 2018 until about February 2019.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Ryan G. Weldon is prosecuting the cases, which were investigated by the Montana Division of Criminal Investigation, Homeland Security Investigations, U.S. Postal Service, and the Drug Enforcement Administration.

These cases are part of Project Safe Neighborhoods, a U.S. Department of Justice initiative to reduce violent crime. Through PSN, federal, tribal, state, and local law enforcement partners in Montana focus on violent crime driven by methamphetamine trafficking, armed robbers, firearms offenses, and violent offenders with outstanding warrants.