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California man admits to stuffing Montana-bound peanut butter jar, piñata with meth

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“Town Crier” newsletter – Briefs from the Region (1) – 5/22/20

Thanks to the diligent work of law enforcement, 1.7 pounds of methamphetamine—some 6,208 doses—were intercepted before reaching recipients in Brockton, a town in the Fort Peck Indian Reservation located in northeastern Montana. The drugs were discovered in November, stuffed into a peanut butter jar and a piñata, a simple and foiled operation orchestrated by Don Fred Baldwin, 47, of Merced, California, reports the Billings Gazette. Baldwin, who pleaded guilty on May 21 in the U.S. District Court of Montana, will face a “minimum mandatory 10 years to life in prison, a $10 million fine and at least five years of supervised release.” The FBI, Fort Peck Tribal Criminal Investigators and the Merced, California, Police Department collaborated in the investigation.  According to the Gazette, the case is lumped into an ongoing Project Safe Neighborhoods initiative, led by the U.S. Department of Justice and intended to reduce violent crime; in Montana, violent crime rose by 36 percent between 2013 and 2018, a statistic intrinsically linked to a prevalence of methamphetamine and other hard drugs. “Through PSN, 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.”

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