BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) — A former Montana lawmaker, who in 2007 supported giving $4 million in state money to the Montana Meth Project, has denied federal charges that say he possessed and sold just over a pound of methamphetamine last year.
Former House Majority Leader Michael Lange of Billings pleaded not guilty Tuesday to federal drug distribution and possession charges, The Billings Gazette (http://bit.ly/2lkuX3I ) reported. He was booked into jail on Friday. U.S. Magistrate Judge Timothy Cavan ordered Lange to remain in custody.
Attorney Ashley Harada reserved the right to request a bail hearing for Lange, 56.
Federal prosecutors say Lange distributed over 500 grams of meth, at least 1.1 pounds, between April and October 2016. Each count carries a mandatory minimum penalty of 10 years in prison. The case will be heard by U.S. District Judge Susan Watters.
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Lange served as majority leader during the 2007 Legislature, but House Republicans stripped him of his title at the end of the session. He had been captured on video at a caucus in April swearing about then-Gov. Brian Schweitzer and negotiations with the Democrat over the budget.
Information from: The Billings Gazette, http://www.billingsgazette.com