Two Montana men were sentenced to federal prison six months after they were arrested in Libby for flying methamphetamine and heroin into the area.
Hugh Andrew Shawgo, 45, of Libby, and Micheal Clayton Norton, 42, of Kalispell, both pleaded guilty in December to possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine. Shawgo also pleaded guilty to the additional charge of possessing a firearm in furtherance of drug trafficking.
Both men appeared at a sentencing hearing in U.S. District Court on April 5 before Judge Donald Molloy. Shawgo received 13 years in prison and Norton received a 6.5-year sentence.
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.
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 initially pleaded not guilty to all charges before taking a plea deal in December.
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