GREAT FALLS – A Rocky Boy’s Indian Reservation resident accused of helping a Michigan fentanyl supplier distribute pills from his Box Elder residence admitted a trafficking crime today, Acting U.S Attorney Leif M. Johnson said.
Larry Albert Bernard, 37, pleaded guilty to possession with intent to distribute controlled substances. Bernard faces a maximum 20 years in prison, a $1 million fine and at least three years of supervised release.
Chief U.S. District Judge Brian M. Morris presided. Chief Judge Morris set sentencing for Jan. 20, 2022. Bernard was released pending further proceedings.
The government alleged in court documents that in the fall of 2020, the FBI received reports that Bernard was housing and helping an out-of-state fentanyl supplier. Other FBI sources reported buying various illegal pills at Bernard’s residence. In December 2020, the FBI executed a search warrant on Bernard’s residence after receiving information 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 housing at least one out-of-state fentanyl supplier in exchange for cash and pills. He also admitted to helping that supplier connect with local users and buyers of fentanyl and said that the bag of pills located in his residence belonged to the supplier.
In an analysis of the bag of pills, the Drug Enforcement Administration identified multiple 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 smallest group contained fentanyl and no other controlled substances.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Ethan R. Plaut is prosecuting the case, which was investigated by the FBI, Tri Agency Task Force, Chippewa Cree Law enforcement and Bureau of Indian Affairs.
Department of Justice
Office of the U.S. Attorney
District of Montana