Two Libby men are facing federal drug charges after allegedly flying meth and heroin from Spokane to Northwest Montana for distribution.
Hugh Andrew Shawgo and Michael Clayton Norton were charged earlier this month in U.S. District Court with conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine, possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine, and forfeiture.
Shawgo was also charged with possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug-trafficking crime and Newton has been accused of operating as an airman without a certificate.
Shawgo pleaded not guilty to all charges in U.S. District Court in Missoula during an arraignment on Oct. 12. Norton will be arraigned on Oct. 24.
According to court documents, the Northwest Montana Drug Task Force began investigating Shawgo for criminal distribution in August 2017. Shawgo has an extensive criminal history, including three previous criminal possession convictions in Washington and Idaho going back to 1997. In September 2015, he was convicted of operating a meth lab in Montana. Norton was previously convicted of drug possession in Flathead and Lake counties.
On Sept. 13, detectives witnessed Shawgo driving to the Lincoln County Airport near Libby. At the time, agents believed he was going to fly to Spokane to pickup drugs for distribution in western Montana.
Later that same day, Shawgo called an inmate at the Lincoln County Jail and during the conversation, which was recorded by law enforcement, he said that he had a “big ball of brown” and that he was going to fly back to Libby that night. “Brown” is a nickname for heroin.
At approximately 8:15 p.m., detectives witnessed a small plane land at the Lincoln County Airport. Shawgo and Norton were placed under arrest without incident. During a search of the aircraft, law enforcement found one pound of meth, two bags of heroin, $900 in cash and a gun.
During an interview with law enforcement later, Shawgo said that Norton often flew him from Spokane to Libby to move drugs.
If convicted of any of the drug-related charges, both men could face a maximum sentence of life in prison.