Shannon Leavitt

Shannon Leavitt

Missoula County jail

A Belgrade woman was sentenced to five years in prison after pleading guilty to dealing methamphetamine with her father.

Shannon Marie Leavitt, 30, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to possess meth with intent to distribute in September. She was sentenced by U.S. District Court Judge Dana Christensen in Missoula on Friday.

Following the prison time, Leavitt will have four years of supervised release.

Leavitt’s father, 58-year-old Richard Lee Clarke, pleaded guilty to the same charge as his daughter. He’s scheduled to be sentenced on Feb. 21, also by Christensen.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office is also recommending a five-year prison sentence for Clarke.

According to the U.S. Attorney’s Office:

In late September 2016, investigators with the Missouri River Drug Task Force used a confidential informant to buy meth. The informant used Leavitt to arrange the deal.

Again on Oct. 3, 2016, investigators used an informant to buy meth from Leavitt. The informant and Leavitt went to Clarke’s home to pick up the meth. During that transaction, Leavitt told the informant that she was dealing meth with her dad.

Investigators also learned that meth was being shipped to Leavitt’s and Clarke’s house. A K9 from the Bozeman Police Department sniffed a package that had been sent to the home, positively alerting to the presence of drugs.

Investigators then delivered the package, which Clarke retrieved later that day. Investigators then executed a search warrant at the house and found evidence of drug dealing.

In the package, investigators found a candle and a tennis ball. Inside the ball, there was about 10 grams of meth. The candle was cut open, which revealed the bottom half had been hollowed out and resealed. Inside, investigators found about 29 grams of meth.

After the search, Leavitt was interviewed and admitted to her role in the conspiracy. She said she was getting an ounce of meth a week from a source in Salt Lake City, whom she had previously driven to meet halfway between Montana and Salt Lake City to get the drugs.

The case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Bryan R. Whittaker and investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Gallatin County Sheriff’s Office, Bozeman Police Department and the United States Postal Service.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office is partnering with federal, state, local and tribal law enforcement to identify those responsible for significant violent crime in Montana. A centerpiece of this effort is Project Safe Neighborhoods, a recently reinvigorated Department of Justice program that has proven to be successful in reducing violent crime. Friday’s sentencing is part of the Project Safe Neighborhoods program.

Whitney Bermes can be reached at wbermes@dailychronicle.com or 582-2648. Follow her on Twitter at @wabermes.

Whitney Bermes covers cops and courts for the Chronicle.

Support quality local journalism. Become a subscriber.

Subscribers get full, survey-free access to the Bozeman Daily Chronicle's award-winning coverage both on our website and in our e-edition, a digital replica of the print edition.