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Third man sentenced for meth distribution

| June 10, 2010 9:00 PM

COEUR d'ALENE - A 52-year-old Shoshone County man was sentenced to 188 months in federal prison for conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine and failure to appear, the U.S. Attorney's Office announced.

U.S. District Judge Edward Lodge also ordered Michael Ray Opland to serve five years of supervised release following his prison term.

Opland pleaded guilty to the charges in September 2009. He has been booked into the Kootenai County jail 12 times since 2001 on a variety of charges.

Co-defendant Paul Dean Hartman, 44, Coeur d'Alene, had previously been sentenced by Chief U.S. District Judge Lynn B. Winmill in January 2010 to 188 months in federal prison for his participation in the conspiracy.

A third co-defendant, Terry Stoddard, 48, Coeur d'Alene, was sentenced in July 2009 to five years probation for her part.

U.S. District Judge Burns, from the Southern District of California, noted Stoddard had voluntarily ended her participation in the conspiracy prior to her arrest and also had done significant post offense rehabilitation on her own.

The evidence showed Hartman, Stoddard and Opland all used the same source in Washington to get some of the methamphetamine they trafficked. They transported it to Idaho and Montana and would sell it for a profit or broker deals between various distributors and sellers.

The total conspiracy involved between 500 grams and 5 kilograms of methamphetamine.

"The sentencing (Tuesday) shows how devastating methamphetamine distribution is to our community," U.S. Attorney Thomas E. Moss said. "This group is now dismantled thanks to the hard work of local, state and federal law enforcement working towards a common goal."

The North Idaho Violent Crimes Task Force consisting of the FBI, Idaho State Police, sheriff's departments in three counties, Coeur d'Alene Police, Post Falls Police and the Coeur d'Alene Tribal Police participated in the investigation.

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