An already convicted felon who has repeatedly violated his probation in a Stillwater County case now faces federal prison time for his role in a methamphetamine distribution case.
Joshua Ostermiller, 32, appeared in U.S. District Court in Billings on May 30 and pleaded guilty to one felony count of possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine. As part of a plea agreement with federal prosecutors, two counts of conspiracy to possess with the intent to distribute methamphetamine will be dismissed.
Sentencing is set for Sept. 27. The crime carries a mandatory maximum prison term of five to 40 years and at least four years of supervised released.
Two other people charged in the case have also entered into plea agreements — or are scheduled to enter into plea agreements — for their roles in what investigators contend involved the planned distribution of at least two pounds of methamphetamine during a six month time span in the Billings area and elsewhere. At Ostermiller’s plea change hearing, he told the judge he had received as much as four pounds of meth from a dealer to sell, according to reports.
According to court documents, from May 2016 until approximately October 2016, Ostermiller possessed and intended to distribute more than 50 grams of methamphetamine in the Billings area and elsewhere.
The trio fell under investigation in September 2016 when Wyoming law enforcement and an Eastern Montana drug task force received information about people distributing meth in the Billings area.
The Billings resident showed up in Stillwater County in 2014 when he and his father were convicted of stealing cars and property from Columbus. He was given a 10-year suspended sentence for those crimes, and in less than a year, was brought back before Judge Blair Jones for repeated probation violations.
Those violations included him failing to find a job, failing to pay the $1,500 fine he owed from the original case and continued drug use.
After making an initial appearance on the probation violations, Ostermiller violated his probation three more times by continuing to use meth on a daily basis. The third meth violation prompted Jones to set bail at $250,000.
Ostermiller was sentenced on the violations in December 2016 — drawing a 10-year commitment to the Department of Corrections with five years suspended. He was also sent to the Nexus program — an in-patient facility geared specifically for methamphetamine addicts — followed by a pre-release center, then a drug court and any after-care program that might be recommended.
At that sentencing hearing, Jones warned Ostermiller that he was on his last chance and that any more trouble would result in a prison term. Ostermiller has gone through drug treatment at least once already.