Federal prosecutors are recommending a former Republican legislative leader from Billings be sentenced to 28 years in prison for operating a drug trafficking ring that brought large quantities of methamphetamine into the state.

Court documents filed last week by prosecutors describe former GOP Montana House majority leader Michael David Lange as “the central player” in a conspiracy that brought at least 20 and possibly up to 50 pounds of meth into the Billings area over a seven-month period in 2016. The 57-year-old Lange pleaded guilty in September to conspiracy to possess and distribute methamphetamine and possession of methamphetamine with the intent to distribute.

Sentencing is scheduled for January 18th before U.S. District Judge Susan Watters. Each count carries a mandatory minimum of 10 years to life in prison and a $10 million fine. Lange’s sentencing request was filed under seal.

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