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Dutton calls Finley’s conviction a result of local and federal cooperation

Posted at 10:36 PM, Apr 18, 2018
and last updated 2018-04-19 00:36:42-04

John Shannon Finley Jr. of Helena was sentenced to more than 10 years in prison after pleading guilty to a federal drug charge earlier this week.

Lewis and Clark County Sheriff Leo Dutton said it’s the result of local and federal cooperation.

When John Shannon Finley was arrested last year, he was found with between 4,000 and 12,000 individual doses of methamphetamine that he allegedly brought with him from Washington.

Sheriff Dutton said the sentence is the result of more than a year of work between his office and the FBI.

Dutton called the 24-year-old Finley a “major player” in meth distribution and he said his office is working with federal officials on several similar cases.

Dutton added that a federal sentence means hard prison time for convicts.

“But I hope it sends a signal that we do take the safety of our citizens seriously and understand that we are out there, we’re looking, we’re listening, and we’re acting," he said. "If we can make our streets safer by partnering with other agencies, that’s better for my bosses and that’s what we’ll continue to do.”

Dutton said Finley’s conviction is the result of the Project Safe Neighborhoods program, which brings federal and local agencies together to reduce violent crime.


(April 16, 2018) John Shannon Finley Jr. of Helena has been sentenced to more than 10 years in prison after pleading guilty to a federal drug charge.

A grand jury indicted Finley last September on charges of conspiracy to possess methamphetamine with the intent to distribute, and possession of a firearm in furtherance of drug trafficking.

According to court documents, Finley and a co-conspirator traveled to Washington on as many as 12 occasions to meet with meth suppliers and traded guns and a vehicle for drugs.

Investigators say when questioned, Finley admitted buying a total of three pounds of meth.

As part of a plea agreement, prosecutors dropped the firearm charge.

Finley received a total of 121 months incarceration and a $100 fine. The court also recommended 500 hours in the Residential Drug Abuse program.

Finley was arrested in Missoula last April on multiple charges including bail jumping.

In March 2017, he led officers on a high-speed chase that ended in the Leisure Village Mobile Home Community.

His sentence will be served consecutively with a sentence from Lewis & Clark County; he will serve his time at a federal prison in Colorado.

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