Friday, October 13, 2017

Hugh Andrew Shawgo and Michael Clayton Norton: Men Accused of Flying Methamphetamine, Heroin to Northwest Montana

Hugh Shawgo

Two Libby men are facing federal drug charges after allegedly flying meth and heroin from Spokane to Northwest Montana for distribution.

Hugh Andrew Shawgo and Michael Clayton Norton were charged earlier this month in U.S. District Court with conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine, possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine, and forfeiture.

Shawgo was also charged with possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug-trafficking crime and Newton has been accused of operating as an airman without a certificate.

Shawgo pleaded not guilty to all charges in U.S. District Court in Missoula during an arraignment on Oct. 12. Norton will be arraigned on Oct. 24.

According to court documents, the Northwest Montana Drug Task Force began investigating Shawgo for criminal distribution in August 2017. Shawgo has an extensive criminal history, including three previous criminal possession convictions in Washington and Idaho going back to 1997. In September 2015, he was convicted of operating a meth lab in Montana. Norton was previously convicted of drug possession in Flathead and Lake counties.

On Sept. 13, detectives witnessed Shawgo driving to the Lincoln County Airport near Libby. At the time, agents believed he was going to fly to Spokane to pickup drugs for distribution in western Montana.

Later that same day, Shawgo called an inmate at the Lincoln County Jail and during the conversation, which was recorded by law enforcement, he said that he had a “big ball of brown” and that he was going to fly back to Libby that night. “Brown” is a nickname for heroin.

At approximately 8:15 p.m., detectives witnessed a small plane land at the Lincoln County Airport. Shawgo and Norton were placed under arrest without incident. During a search of the aircraft, law enforcement found one pound of meth, two bags of heroin, $900 in cash and a gun.

During an interview with law enforcement later, Shawgo said that Norton often flew him from Spokane to Libby to move drugs.

If convicted of any of the drug-related charges, both men could face a maximum sentence of life in prison.

Story and comments ➤

Two men who prosecutors say flew drugs from Spokane into northwest Montana to sell have been charged with federal felonies.

Hugh Shawgo, 44, pleaded not guilty to drug conspiracy and possession charges, as well as possession of a firearm in a drug trafficking case, during his arraignment hearing Thursday in U.S. District Court in Montana.

Magistrate Judge Jeremiah Lynch ordered that Shawgo remain in custody pending further court hearings.

Michael Norton, who faces the same drug charges as Shawgo,as well as a felony for flying with an airman’s certificate, was released from custody shortly after his and Shawgo’s arrests, and is scheduled to appear in court later this month.

In a federal complaint filed after Shawgo and Norton’s arrests in September, Special Agent Troy Casper with the Department of Homeland Security said the two men were caught after their plane landed at the airport in Libby, and that investigators found the drugs on board.

Casper said the Northwest Montana Drug Task Force and the Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office had been investigating Shawgo since August for allegedly distributing methamphetamine in western Montana.

Shawgo has a 2015 conviction for operation of a drug lab in Cascade County and other felony drug convictions in Washington and Idaho.

On Sept. 13, two sheriff’s detectives saw Shawgo driving to the airport outside Libby, which they believed he used to travel to Spokane to pick up meth to bring back to Montana. About an hour later, Shawgo allegedly called a woman being held at the Lincoln County jail saying they had just landed in the Spokane area, and called again later saying he was driving through Spokane with a “big ball of brown,” which according to Casper’s report was a reference to heroin.

That evening, officers were at the airport when a plane registered to Norton landed, and both he and Shawgo were taken into custody. In an interview with detectives, Shawgo allegedly said there was a pound of meth, a half ounce of heroin and a gun on the plane.

After obtaining a search warrant for the plane, detectives said they found the pound of meth on board, as well as packages containing various pills, a pistol, two plastic bags with heroin inside and around $900.

Original article can be found here ➤

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