Montana U.S. Attorney on Prosecuting for Drugs and Trafficking
U.S. Attorney for the State of Montana Jesse Laslovich sat down with us on Thursday at the Missoula Federal Department of Justice office to discuss a number of issues important to our listeners.
Laslovich briefly described the role the U.S. Attorney for Montana fills in the hierarchy of law enforcement.
“We are responsible for prosecuting all of those cases that are federal cases that come to us that are referred to us by the DEA or the FBI, or any other agency, including from our state partners where there is an interstate commerce element to the investigation,” began Laslovich. “So we would have to prosecute that case versus those cases that are just within the confines of Montana that perhaps would be state cases.”
Laslovich addressed the epidemic of drugs and drug crime specifically here in the Missoula area as well as statewide.
“As I share in the frustration about our drug problem here Montana, please know that we're absolutely committed to holding people accountable, who are preying on those who are addicted, who are taking advantage of people, not just our tribal partners, but of course throughout the state,” he said. “We have a significant methamphetamine problem and a significant fentanyl problem. With that in mind folks just need to know that their federal resources, that’s their federal government, is working diligently to hold people accountable.”
Laslovich then described the role his office plays in the prosecution of human trafficking.
“Really we are prosecuting those perpetrators who are the human traffickers in the state,” he said. “When there is an interstate commerce element to human trafficking as there always is, then it's our office that has to indict and hold those folks accountable. “You're seeing that, in the results of some of these folks who are committing these horrible crimes were being held accountable; including one who's going to be sentenced here next month to over 27 years in prison lease is what we'll be asking the court to do.”
With so many criminals being released without receiving a lengthy sentence, Laslovich urgently reminded Missoulians that his office, as it represents the federal government, has much more to offer in the way of sentencing.
“Importantly, as it relates to gun violence, we have mandatory minimum sentences and for some other violent crimes as well,” he said. “You'll see us pursue those cases. And we want those cases so that they can be subject to that mandatory minimum sentence. There, they go to the Bureau of Prisons, and they're in federal custody for a long time. There's no parole in the federal system, which is important. It's unlike the state. And then the other piece is the supervision after they're released, so they serve their five year sentence. For example, they're subject to the supervision of the United States Probation Office.”
Laslovich is also deeply involved in the effort to investigate and prosecute those responsible for Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls throughout the state.