Sunday, April 18, 2021

Bigfork meth trafficker gets 15 years in federal prison

| October 16, 2020 12:00 AM

A Bigfork man convicted of methamphetamine trafficking in the Havre area was sentenced Wednesday to 15 years in prison and five years of supervised release.

According to U.S. Attorney Kurt Alme, Shane Alan Nault, 44, pleaded guilty in June to possession with intent to distribute meth and to being a prohibited person in possession of a firearm.

The prosecution said in court documents that in the fall of 2017, informants alerted drug task force officers that Nault was selling meth in and around Hill County. Law enforcement arranged for an undercover operation to buy meth from Nault and surveilled multiple drug transactions that occurred in Nault's pickup truck.

In March 2018, officers located a truck registered to an associate of Nault's in Havre. Nault, who was the driver and only person in the truck, appeared to be under the influence of narcotics. Officers arrested Nault and obtained a search warrant for the truck.

During the search, officers found a 9 mm pistol, three packages containing about 500 grams of meth and other drug paraphernalia. Nault was prohibited from possessing firearms because of a previous felony conviction in U.S. District Court.

According to a 2011 Billings Gazette story, Nault served time in federal prison for a 2003 meth trafficking conviction. After he was paroled, Nault pleaded guilty to a road rage incident in 2011 when he rammed another vehicle with his pickup truck while driving drunk.

A story reported Nault was arrested by Lake County Sheriff’s deputies in August 2019 after Nault was seen working at a business in Woods Bay by ATF agents.

Nault jumped into Flathead Lake when he saw the agents and swam out into the bay.

A private citizen allowed deputies the use of his boat to apprehend Nault, but prior to launch, Nault swam to shore in the Driftwood Lane area.

A brief chase followed through thick brush, and Nault was arrested by a deputy near the lake shore.

Nault also was sentenced for drug crimes in Hill County in 2001 and 2002.