Billings woman, Elizabeth Ardelle Grace Ronshaugen admits trafficking meth, fentanyl
(STL.News) A Billings woman accused of possessing multiple drugs, including methamphetamine and more than 9,000 fentanyl pills, for distribution admitted to a trafficking crime today, U.S. Attorney Leif M. Johnson said.
Elizabeth Ardelle Grace Ronshaugen, 29, pleaded guilty to possession with intent to distribute controlled substances. Ronshaugen faces a mandatory minimum 10 years to life in prison, a $10 million fine and five years of supervised release.
U.S. Magistrate Judge Timothy J. Cavan presided. A sentencing date will be set before U.S. District Judge Dana L. Christensen. The court will determine any sentence after considering the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors. Ronshaugen was detained pending further proceedings.
In court documents, the government alleged that law enforcement began an investigation into Ronshaugen and co-defendant Eric Charles Swan in 2021 after receiving information of possible drug trafficking. In November, agents observed that Swan was traveling to Denver and returning to Montana. Law enforcement pulled over Swan and Ronshaugen near Buffalo, Wyoming.
Ronshaugen was found to have several fentanyl pills hidden in her clothing and approximately 52 additional fentanyl pills were located in a plastic zip lock bag on her person. During a search of the vehicle, Wyoming law enforcement located approximately 9,616 fentanyl pills, approximately 466 grams, or a little more than one pound, of heroin, 103 grams of meth, a gram of cocaine, 14 Dialudid pills and $9,775 in U.S. currency. Swan has pleaded guilty to charges and is pending sentencing.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Thomas K. Godfrey is prosecuting the case. The Eastern Montana High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area Task Force investigated the case.
This case is part of Project Safe Neighborhoods, a U.S. Department of Justice initiative to reduce violent crime. Through PSN, federal, tribal, state and local law enforcement partners in Montana focus on violent crime driven by methamphetamine trafficking, armed robbers, firearms offenses and violent offenders with outstanding warrants.