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Ex-US lawmaker sentenced to 18 years for drug trafficking

IANS | Los Angels |

A former US Republican lawmaker was sentenced to 18 years in prison for drug trafficking, officials said.

Michael Lange, 57, will spend 216 months in prison for two felony drug distribution charges, according to a sentence issued by Susan Watters, a US district judge of the Montana district court on Thursday.

Lange served three terms as a state lawmaker in the northwestern US state of Montana. He was the Republican House majority leader during the 2007 legislature, Xinhua reported.

Ironically, Lange had even supported as a lawmaker a bill to give $4 million to the Montana Meth Project, a large-scale prevention programme aimed at reducing first-time teen Meth use.

In September 2016, US agents began an investigation into a broad drug-trafficking organisation selling large quantities of methamphetamine in the Billings area in Montana.

Lange was identified as a large distributor for the organisation, so agents applied for and received search warrants for his cell phone content and ultimately his residence.

Lange’s text messages indicated that he was selling methamphetamine along with cocaine to a number of individuals. On October 11, 2016, agents executed a search warrant on Lange’s residence in Billings where they discovered more than 1 kg of methamphetamine and 442 grams of cocaine.

Interviewed by agents on two occasions, Lange admitted to participating in the conspiracy and obtaining approximately 20 pounds of methamphetamine for redistribution.