Former Montana GOP House majority leader facing 30 years in prison after pleading guilty to running meth ring
The former leader of the Republican-dominated House is facing up to 30 years in prison for running a meth ring over a seven-month period in 2016, reports the Billings Gazette.
According to the report, prosecutors have recommended former lawmaker Michael David Lange serve 28 years after acting as “the central player” in a meth ring that distributed 20, and possibly up to 50 pounds of the drug, into the Billings area.
The 57-year-old Lange pled guilty in September to conspiracy to possess and distribute methamphetamine and possession of methamphetamine with the intent to distribute.
“Lange was responsible for polluting the Billings community and surrounding areas with a significant quantity of highly pure methamphetamine,” Assistant U.S. Attorney John Sullivan detailed in the government’s sentencing recommendation, adding, “The negative impact associated with at least 20 pounds of methamphetamine is difficult to overstate.”
The Gazette reports that Lange, while in office, supported giving $4 million in taxpayer dollars to an anti-meth public relations campaign. He was later removed from his leadership spot after being captured on video in an obscene tirade against then-Gov. Brian Schweitzer (D).
Following his political career, Lange was charged with driving under the influence in 2014, before picking up second DUI months later in conjunction with a felony charge of possessing over an ounce of meth in California and being sentenced to 16 months in prison, court records reveal.
According to prosecutor Sullivan, Lange began dealing large quantities of the drug after his release, brought in from to California. A raid on his house in October 2016 turned up more than 2.5 pounds of meth, 13 ounces of cocaine and $27,400.
Lange is scheduled for sentencing on Jan. 18 before U.S. District Judge Susan Watters, where he faces mandatory minimum of 10 years to life in prison and a $10 million fine.