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Billings man gets more than 26 years in prison for bringing meth to Montana from California

Billings man gets more than 26 years in prison for bringing meth to Montana from California

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A Billings man convicted of trafficking meth into the region from California was sentenced to more than two decades in prison on Thursday. 

Maurice Joseph Fregia, 33, was sentenced to 26 years and 10 months in prison, plus five years of supervised release, during a hearing in U.S. District court in Billings in front of Judge Susan Watters. 

Fregia was convicted after a two-day trial in March.

Co-defendants Chad Beres and Larry Barnett both pleaded guilty to their own charges. Beres was sentenced to 15 years in prison and Barnett was sentenced to seven years. 

Agents conducting a search warrant on Fregia's and Beres' house in 2018 found roughly 1.5 pounds of meth, or about 5,600 doses, according to U.S. Attorney for Montana Kurt Alme's office. The sentencing was announced in a press release the office sent Thursday afternoon. 

The search also yielded more than $14,000 in cash and various firearms and ammunition. 

The case was a part of Project Guardian, a new U.S. Department of Justice initiative to reduce gun violence, according to Alme's office. It was also part of Project Safe Neighborhoods, the department's initiative to reduce violent crime. 

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