Libby Men Admit to Flying Meth, Heroin to Northwest Montana

Hugh Andrew Shawgo and Michael Clayton Norton appeared at a change of plea hearing in Missoula Tuesday

By Justin Franz

Two Libby men have admitted to flying meth and heroin from Spokane to Libby earlier this year.

Hugh Andrew Shawgo and Michael Clayton Norton appeared at a change of plea hearing in U.S. District Court in Missoula on Dec. 19.

Both men were charged with conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine and possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine. 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.

Both men pleaded guilty to the charges. Prosecutors have agreed to drop the conspiracy to distribute charge against both men and the operating as an airman without a certificate charge against Newton.

Both men are scheduled to appear at a sentencing hearing in Missoula in April.

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.

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