BILLINGS—A Laurel man was sentenced today to 10 years in prison and five years of supervised release for conviction on drug trafficking crimes after law enforcement officers found methamphetamine in a motel room he had occupied, U.S. Attorney Kurt Alme said.
William Anthony Rogers, 30, pleaded guilty in September to conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute meth and to possession with intent to distribute meth.
U.S. District Judge Susan P. Watters presided.
The prosecution said in court records that Billings Police officers were dispatched to the Boothill Inn in Billings on July 16, 2018 because two men were passed out in a motel room after check out and could not be awakened. One of the men woke up as officers entered the room and grabbed a meth pipe on a night stand. The second man, identified as Rogers, then woke up. Although officers saw pills and paraphernalia in plain view, they released both men pending arrest warrants because the jail was too full to accept new inmates.
After the men left, the officers looked around the room, found a silver briefcase, opened it and saw what appeared to be a large amount of meth. Officers called the Billings drug task force, which got a search warrant for the room. During the search, officers found about six ounces of meth in the briefcase and a 9mm handgun in a separate locked case. Surveillance video from the motel showed Rogers carrying the briefcase that contained the meth.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Lori Suek prosecuted the case, which was investigated by the FBI task force.
This case is part of Project Guardian, the U.S. Department of Justice’s recent initiative to reduce gun violence and enforce federal firearms laws, and Project Safe Neighborhoods, the USDOJ’s initiative to reduce violent crime. According to the FBI’s Uniform Crime Reports, violent crime in Montana increased by 36% from 2013 through 2018. Through these initiatives, 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.