GREAT FALLS – Resident of Rocky Boy Indian Reservation accused of helping Michigan fentanyl supplier distribute pills from his Box Elder residence today admitted to a trafficking crime, Acting US Attorney Leif said Mr. Johnson.
Larry Albert Bernard, 37, pleaded guilty to possession with intent to distribute controlled substances. Bernard faces a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison, a fine of one million dollars and at least three years of supervised release.
U.S. Chief District Judge Brian M. Morris presided. Chief Justice Morris has set the sentence for January 20, 2022. Bernard has been released pending further prosecution.
The government alleged in court documents that in the fall of 2020, the FBI received information that Bernard was hosting and assisting an out-of-state fentanyl supplier. Other FBI sources reported purchasing various illegal pills at Bernard’s residence. In December 2020, the FBI executed a search warrant at Bernard’s home after receiving reports that a supplier was at the residence with pills. Bernard and an individual from Michigan were present and officers found a bag containing pills.
Bernard admitted to harboring at least one out-of-state fentanyl supplier in exchange for money and pills. He also admitted to helping this supplier connect with local users and buyers of fentanyl and said the pill bag in his residence belonged to the supplier.
In an analysis of the pill bag, the Drug Enforcement Administration identified several types of pills. The largest group contained two types of controlled substances: fentanyl and para-Fluorofentanyl, which is a fentanyl analogue. Another group of pills contained two controlled substances: fentanyl and methamphetamine. The smaller group contained fentanyl and no other controlled substance.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Ethan R. Plaut is pursuing the case, which has been investigated by the FBI, the Tri-Agency Task Force, law enforcement Chippewa Cree and the Bureau of Indian Affairs.