Lodge Grass Man Admits Trafficking Charges In Large-Scale Meth Investigation

Lodge Grass Man Admits Trafficking Charges In Large-Scale Meth Investigation
Photo by Tingey Injury Law Firm / Unsplash

A Lodge Grass man last week admitted to a methamphetamine trafficking crime for his role in a large-scale, multi-state narcotics investigation that was centered on the Crow Indian Reservation, U.S. Attorney Jesse Laslovich said in a press release.

Morgan Luke Hugs, 33, pleaded guilty April 4 to possession with intent to distribute meth. Hugs faces a mandatory minimum of 10 years to life in prison, a $10 million fine and at least five years of supervised release.

U.S. Magistrate Judge Timothy J. Cavan presided over the case.

A sentencing date will be set before U.S. District Judge Susan P. Watters. Hugs was detained pending further proceedings.

The government alleged in court documents that federal law enforcement, in collaborative effort with local and tribal law enforcement, engaged in a large-scale, multiple-state narcotics trafficking investigation centered on multiple properties on the Crow Indian Reservation. The properties, including one at Spear Siding, were a source of supply of meth for both the Crow and Northern Cheyenne reservations. Hugs is one of the individuals affiliated with the investigation.

The government further alleged that from about January 2022 until March 2023, Hugs was receiving meth from the house at Spear Siding and distributing it to others on the Crow Reservation. Hugs received meth from two main co-conspirators, one of whom was former Little Big Horn College Dean of Academics Frederica Lefthand, involved with the investigation. Lefthand’s brother Wendell Lefthand was named at the other main co-conspirator last year.

Hugs was fronted some drugs for sale and a source noted that Hugs was indebted to one of the conspirators. In addition, law enforcement obtained meth from Hugs in a controlled purchase in Hardin in November 2022.

Lefthand was near the top of the conspiracy, only below a Washington source of supply and identified as co-defendant 1. The investigation into the Spear Siding activities began in June 2022 and has led to federal charges against against Lefthand, who was was sentenced in March to 24 years in prison, to be followed by five years of supervised release, as well as 25 other defendants, including relatives like her daughter Sayra Longfox, who pleaded not guilty in October to conspiracy to possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine and possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine.

Lefthand’s brother pleaded guilty last year for his role in the conspiracy. Darlon Richard Lefthand, 37, a nephew of Wendell and Frederica’s, was sentenced in December to seven years imprisonment for his role in the conspiracy.

“Lefthand essentially helped fuel a drug crisis among her own people and throughout the state,” said Shohini Sinha, Special Agent in Charge of the Salt Lake City FBI said in a March press release. "The FBI and our partners aim to target criminal enterprises and cut off the supply of illegal narcotics at the highest levels, so they don’t make it into our neighborhoods.”

Frederica Lefthand supplied a significant portion of the meth sold across the Crow, Northern Cheyenne, Fort Belknap and Rocky Boy’s Indian reservations and had operations in every reservation town as well as in Billings and Havre, according to court records.

Documents alleged, Lefthand was the ringleader of the operation, which involved “pounds and pounds and pounds” of meth, the government said. 

Lefthand worked directly with co-defendant 1 and managed the operation in Montana, dispensing drugs to lower-level dealers, collecting debts, organizing deals and recruiting others to help her make money. The home at Spear Siding was a hub of drug activity, and sources reported that Spear Siding would “never run out” of meth.

While traveling to Washington state with co-defendant 1, Lefthand attempted to recruit more “great distributors.” In an intercepted text message, Lefthand said:

“we will be back in business when we get back so start thinking about of few of your other peeps who might want to purchase or be great distributors. We will only be working with a few but will be considering other locations if you know what I mean jellybean!!! Maybe seven and ten if need be.”

Court records showed, law enforcement conducted two controlled purchases of meth from Lefthand in September 2022. On April 1, 2023, law enforcement arrested Lefthand in a stolen vehicle following a pursuit and found her to be in possession of meth and a handgun. In addition, Lefthand made several wire transfers of money from drug transactions to an individual in Washington.

“She has earned this prison sentence and I am proud of our law enforcement partners and prosecutors who have brought her to justice,” Laslovich said.

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