BILLINGS – A Florida man who admitted trafficking methamphetamine after the Montana Highway Patrol found 78 pounds of the drug during a traffic stop in one of the state’s largest seizures was sentenced Tuesday to 11 years in prison and to five years of supervised release, Acting U.S. Attorney Leif Johnson said.
Nicholas James Imhoff, 30, of Cape Coral, Florida, pleaded guilty on Sept. 9, 2020, to possession with intent to distribute meth.
U.S. District Judge Dana L. Christensen presided.
The government said in court documents filed in the case that on Feb. 11, 2020, a Montana Highway Patrol trooper stopped a vehicle for speeding on Interstate 90 near Columbus. Imhoff, the driver and sole occupant, told the trooper he was headed back to work in the oilfields in North Dakota. Imhoff's explanations and other observations led the trooper to suspect Imhoff was transporting drugs.
Imhoff's vehicle was impounded and the officer obtained a Montana search warrant. During a search of the vehicle, officers seized about 78 pounds of meth, which is the equivalent of 282,672 doses.
The meth was located under a floor storage compartment in the second seat area and was in white plastic garbage bags. Some of the meth was packaged in vacuum sealed plastic bags and some was wrapped in duct tape.
An analysis by a Drug Enforcement Administration lab determined the meth was 98 percent pure. The street value of the meth was estimated at between $624,000 to $1,248,000. The seizure was one of the largest meth seizures in Montana.