Three Missoula area residents admit meth trafficking crime
| June 9, 2021 12:00 AM
Three Missoula area residents accused in a large methamphetamine trafficking ring pleaded guilty on Tuesday.
According to acting U.S. Attorney Leif M. Johnson, Laura Jeanne Haacke, 46, of Missoula, Jennifer Renee Hawkes, 39, of Missoula, and Jason Dean Hager, 55, of Lolo, each pleaded guilty to possession with intent to distribute meth.
Haacke and Hawkes face a mandatory minimum 10 years to life in prison, a $10 million fine and at least five years of supervised release. Hager faces a mandatory minimum five years to 40 years in prison, a $5 million fine and four years of supervised release.
U.S. District Judge Donald W. Molloy presided. Sentencing was set for Dec. 16 for all defendants. Hager and Hawkes were detained, while Haacke was released pending further proceedings.
According to court documents, the government alleged that Haacke, Hawkes, Hager, and a fourth co-defendant, Terry David Starrett, conspired to distribute meth in Missoula from January 2018 through January 2021.
Starrett pleaded guilty on May 11 to possession with intent to distribute meth. The government alleged that officers learned through confidential informants that Haacke stored meth for a drug distributor and at one point had 40 pounds of meth in a trap floor at her residence.
When interviewed by law enforcement, Haacke admitted that she used meth and that in February 2019, she had about 80 pounds of meth stored in her residence. Eighty pounds of meth is the equivalent of about 289,920 doses.
The government further alleged that in July 2019, Hawkes supplied a person with about two ounces of meth. After the transaction, law enforcement executed a search warrant at Hawkes’ residence and recovered an additional three pounds of meth.
The government also alleged that in December 2019, Hager sold meth to an undercover informant three times in monitored transactions. Agents further learned that a confidential informant saw Hager with 1 1/2 pounds of meth and that he helped a co-defendant move numerous pounds of meth and kept some to use as his own supply.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Tara J. Elliott is prosecuting the case, which was investigated by the FBI’s Montana Regional Violent Crime Task Force, Missoula Police Department and Missoula County Sheriff’s Office.