Former Montana House Republican Majority Leader Michael David Lange was sentenced to 18 years in federal prison on Thursday for his central role in a drug trafficking ring that distributed large amounts of methamphetamine in Montana and Wyoming.  The Billings Gazette reports that Lange, the GOP House leader in 2007, arranged deliveries of at least 20 and possibly up to 50 pounds of meth from a source in California in 2016.  The former Billings politician pleaded guilty in September to drug conspiracy and distribution charges.

There was no plea agreement, and there is no parole in the federal system.  U.S. District Judge Susan Watters sentenced Lange to a shorter term than his guideline range of about 24 years to 30 years, saying the prosecution’s recommendation of 28 years was excessive.  Judge Watters allowed Lange to self-surrender to prison.