MISSOULA — A Missoula man suspected of trafficking large amounts of methamphetamine in the Flathead Valley and of having five pounds of meth at his shop admitted drug crimes on Tuesday, Acting U.S. Attorney Leif Johnson said.
Leon Paul Kavis, Jr., 36, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute meth and to possession with intent to distribute meth. Kavis faces a mandatory minimum 10 years to life in prison, a $10 million fine and at least five years of supervised release. Kavis was detained pending further proceedings.
U.S. Magistrate Judge Kathleen L. DeSoto presided. Sentencing was set for July 8 before U.S. District Judge Dana L. Christensen. Kavis was detained pending further proceedings.
In court documents filed in the case, the government alleged that Kavis was identified to law enforcement as a source of meth in the Flathead Valley from about November 2019 to November 2020. California authorities also identified Kavis as working with individuals to bring to meth to Montana for distribution.
The government further alleged witnesses would testify that Kavis sold them meth, observed him with pounds of meth, including up to 15 pounds on one occasion, that he always carried a firearm for protection and often had large sums of cash, ranging from $30,000 to $50,000.
The government also alleged that packages were being sent from California to Kavis’ shop in East Missoula. Officers executed a search warrant on one of the packages at the shop and found it contained about five pounds of meth, which is the equivalent of about 18,120 doses. The package was addressed to Kavis’ shop and had Kavis’ number listed.
Kavis contested aspects of the government’s case.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Jennifer Clark is prosecuting the case, which was investigated by the FBI, Missoula Police Department and Flathead County Sheriff’s Office.