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Hope man convicted for conspiracy to distribute meth

| May 19, 2022 1:00 AM

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A federal jury convicted a Hope man for conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine last Friday.

According to court records and evidence presented at trial, Sean Robert Wathen worked with Larry Junior Hillbroom and others to acquire and smuggle methamphetamine through international airports between North Idaho and the Pacific Islands of Guam and Palau.

Wathen acquired pounds of methamphetamine for Hillbroom over several months in 2015. Hillbroom and others would then use several different methods to smuggle the drugs, including shampoo containers and carrying the substance on their person, to Guam and Palau. Once in Guam or Palau, Hillbroom would coordinate with locally-based individuals to sell the methamphetamine. Law enforcement officers learned of the conspiracy, investigated, and ultimately arrested Hillbroom and his coconspirators.

Wathen, 48, is scheduled to be sentenced on Aug. 9, and faces a maximum penalty of 20 years in federal prison. A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after considering U.S. sentencing guidelines and other statutory factors.

Wathen was originally charged with Morgan Kenney, 36, Zachary Craig Carlson, 31, and Larry Junior Hillbroom, 37, all of Hope. Kenney, Carlson, and Hillbroom previously pleaded guilty and were sentenced to imprisonment.

Morgan Kenny was sentenced to 52 months, Zachary Craig Carlson was sentenced to 37 months imprisonment, and Larry Junior Hillbroom was sentenced to 96 months imprisonment.  

U.S. Attorney Rafael M. Gonzalez, Jr., of the District of Idaho made the announcement and commended the cooperative efforts of the Drug Enforcement Administration, Bonner County Sheriff's Office, Bureau of Indian Affairs, Coeur d’Alene Police Department, Idaho State Police, U.S. Border Patrol, and the U.S. Marshals Service, which led to charges.

The case is part of an Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Forces investigation. OCDETF identifies, disrupts, and dismantles the highest-level drug traffickers, money launderers, gangs, and transnational criminal organizations that threaten the United States by using a prosecutor-led, intelligence-driven, multi-agency approach that leverages the strengths of federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies against criminal networks.

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