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Missoula man sentenced on drug trafficking, pipe bomb possession charges

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Posted at 2:52 PM, Mar 31, 2023

MISSOULA - A Missoula man was been sentenced on Friday to over six years in federal prison.

Matthew Lucas Jones, 43, pleaded guilty in December 2022 to possession with intent to distribute controlled substances.

U.S. Attorney Jesse Laslovich says Jones will serve six years and six months in prison, to be followed by five years of supervised release.

The government alleged in court documents that on June 1, 2021, law enforcement stopped Jones, while he was absconding from state probation, for a traffic violation after he drove into oncoming traffic.

Officers searched a backpack in Jones’ vehicle and found heroin containing fentanyl, methamphetamine, dozens of distribution baggies and a pipe bomb. An explosives expert determined the pipe bomb was functional.

Jones denied knowing about the pipe bomb or backpack and said that they must have belonged to the vehicle’s previous owner. However, surveillance video showed Jones carrying the backpack when he checked into a hotel the previous evening.

Jones also possessed two cell phones, one of which contained multiple text messages indicating he was selling drugs, $1,060 cash, a silver coin and pre-paid cards.

U.S. District Judge Donald W. Molloy presided over the sentencing.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Karla E. Painter prosecuted the case, which was investigated by the Missoula Police Department, Montana Probation and Parole, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and Drug Enforcement Administration.