Frank Loring Miller Jr., of Fort Pierre, was charged by a federal grand jury indictment with dealing methamphetamine, which could mean 40 years in prison.
The grand jury indicted Miller, 61, on July 16 and on July 18 he pleaded not guilty in federal court before U.S. Magistrate Judge Mark Moreno in a Pierre courtroom, according to a news release from U.S. Attorney Ron Parsons.
The maximum penalty for the charge, if Miller were to be convicted, would be 40 years in prison and a $5 million fine and at least four years of supervised probation.
The charge says between Feb. 1, 2019 and July 16, Miller conspired with others “known and unknown” to distribute 50 grams or more of meth, and that during a June 23 traffic stop, 236 grams of meth were found in the vehicle in which Miller was a passenger.
He was remanded last week to the custody of the U.S. marshals pending a trial or other disposition of the case. Miller remains in the Hughes County Jail in Pierre.
He was arrested after the traffic stop of a red Honda CR-V on June 23. A Highway Patrol officer, tipped off that such a car with Stanley County plates would be coming through, carrying a large amount of meth, pulled it over in Murdo, which is southwest of Fort Pierre on Interstate 90. The car came into Murdo from the south on U.S. Highway 83, according to an article in the Mitchell Daily Republic.
Melissa Scull of Pierre was driving.
According to state records, she’s on parole from the state prison and was sentenced in 2013 on a forgery felony and in 2018 on a drug charge. Charles Olson, 47, of Pierre, also was in the car and arrested with Scull and Miller on June 23. The three faced state drug charges.
Miller has been in involved with a car dealership in Fort Pierre with a relative, according to state records.
Parsons said the investigation is being conducted by the Northern Plains Safe Trails Drug Enforcement Task Force and the South Dakota Highway Patrol. Assistant U.S. Attorney Meghan N. Dilges is prosecuting the case.
No trial date has been set.