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Billings man sentenced to 15 years for meth trafficking

BILLINGS—Billings resident James Nevels, III, was sentenced to 15 years in prison and five years of supervised release today for trafficking methamphetamine in the Billings community, U.S. Attorney Kurt Alme said.

Nevels, 40, pleaded guilty in August to conspiracy to possess meth with intent to distribute and to possession with intent to distribute meth.

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

Prosecutors said evidence showed that drug investigators received information in October 2017 that Nevels and co-defendant, Nicole Waldhalm of Billings, were distributing in the Billings area meth that Waldhalm received from California. A confidential informant made meth buys from both Waldhalm and Nevels. In December 2017, the Montana Highway Patrol arrested Waldhalm, who was in possession of one ounce of meth. Waldhalm admitted that she and Nevels had brought between two and four ounces of meth from California to Montana.

Waldhalm was convicted in July 2018 in the case and sentenced last November to five years in prison.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Colin Rubich prosecuted the case, which was investigated by the Eastern Montana High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area Task Force, the Drug Enforcement Administration, FBI and Billings Police Department.

The case is part of Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN), which is the centerpiece of the Department of Justice’s violent crime reduction efforts.  PSN is an evidence-based program proven to be effective at reducing violent crime. Through PSN, a broad spectrum of stakeholders work together to identify the most pressing violent crime problems in the community and develop comprehensive solutions to address them. As part of this strategy, PSN focuses enforcement efforts on the most violent offenders and partners with locally based prevention and reentry programs for lasting reductions in crime.


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