California man admits to sending meth in peanut butter jar, piñata to Montana

California man admits to sending meth in peanut butter jar, piñata to Montana

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A California man on Thursday admitted to sending almost two pounds of methamphetamine hidden in a peanut butter jar and a piñata that were bound for the Fort Peck Indian Reservation.

Don Fred Baldwin, 47, of Merced, California, pleaded guilty Thursday in the U.S. District Court of Montana to a distribution of meth charge after mailing the drug in a package last November.

Chief U.S. District Judge Brian Morris accepted the plea and set sentencing for Sept. 17. Baldwin was detained, according to a press release from U.S. Attorney for Montana Kurt Alme.

Baldwin faces a minimum mandatory 10 years to life in prison, a $10 million fine and at least five years of supervised release.

Baldwin mailed a package on Nov. 7, 2019, from California to Brockton, located on the Fort Peck Indian Reservation. Law enforcement officers intercepted the package, obtained a search warrant and found meth hidden inside a jar of peanut butter and a piñata, according to court documents. The amount of meth totaled 776 grams, which is about 1.7 pounds and the equivalent of approximately 6,208 doses.

Baldwin told law enforcement when he was interviewed that he mailed the meth. He clarified later that he provided the meth to another person who mailed it to Montana.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Cassady Adams is prosecuting the case, which was investigated by the FBI, Fort Peck Tribal Criminal Investigators and the Merced, California, Police Department.

This case is part of Project Safe Neighborhoods, a U.S. Department of Justice initiative to reduce violent crime. According to the FBI’s Uniform Crime Reports, violent crime in Montana increased by 36% from 2013 to 2018. Through PSN, federal, tribal, state and local law enforcement partners in Montana focus on violent crime driven by methamphetamine trafficking, armed robbers, firearms offenses and violent offenders with outstanding warrants.

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