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3 men sentenced for federal drug crimes in north Idaho

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COEUR D’ALENE, Idaho (KIFI) – Three men were sentenced in separate cases for federal drug crimes involving methamphetamine and clonazepam, U.S. Attorney Josh Hurwit announced. 

On Oct. 24, 2023, U.S. District Judge Amanda K. Brailsford sentenced J35-year-old ack Joseph Magness of Spokane, Wash. to 60 months in federal prison for possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine. After serving his prison sentence, Magness will be placed on supervised release for three years.

According to court records, Magness was arrested by Idaho State Police in Shoshone County, Idaho, on July 16, 2021. During his arrest, Magness hid a small quantity of methamphetamine in his body and smuggled it into the jail. Once in the jail, Magness recovered the methamphetamine and began using it. One of Magness’s cell mates also accessed the smuggled methamphetamine and ultimately overdosed and died after consuming a portion of it.

When officers investigated the death, they located 6 grams of methamphetamine on Magness’s bunk, within the cell. At his change of plea hearing, Magness ultimately admitted to smuggling the methamphetamine in and sharing it with others in the cell.

In a separate case, on October 24, 2023, Judge Brailsford sentenced 50-year-old David Christopher Churchill of Sandpoint to 37 months in federal prison for distribution of methamphetamine. After his prison term, Churchill will be placed on supervised release for three years.

Court records show that Churchill was distributing methamphetamine in the Coeur d’Alene and Sandpoint area. Officers learned of Churchill’s activities and began to investigate. On April 13, 2022, Churchill sold four ounces of methamphetamine to another individual. After completing the drug deal, Churchill was arrested.

In a third case, on October 23, 2023, Judge Brailsford sentenced 26-yera-old Jonathan Robert Chrysler of Post Falls to 46 months in federal prison for distribution of a controlled substance to a person under 21. After completing his prison sentences, Chrysler will be placed on supervised release for six years.

According to court records, in May 2022, Chrysler met with a 14-year-old minor near Memorial Field in downtown Coeur d’Alene. During the meeting, Chrysler sold the minor multiple clonazepam pills, a Schedule IV controlled substance. The minor was ultimately rushed to the hospital and received medical care after consuming the pills mixed with alcohol.

“These cases vividly show how illegal drugs threaten lives in North Idaho,” U.S. Attorney Hurwit said. “We are fortunate to work closely with law enforcement at all levels to address this danger, and we will continue to prioritize anti-drug enforcement in North Idaho and throughout Idaho.”

These three cases were successfully prosecuted due to the collaborative efforts of multiple federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies including: the Shoshone County Sherriff’s Office, the Coeur d’Alene Police Department, the Bonner County Sheriff’s Office, and the North Idaho Narcotics Enforcement Task Force which is comprised of the Idaho State Police, the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, the Bureau of Indian Affairs, the Coeur d’Alene Police Department, the U.S. Border Patrol, and the Drug Enforcement Administration.

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