Grover Beach women supplied oil field meth ring

January 17, 2018

Claudia Norman

A Grover Beach woman is facing a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years to life in prison and a $10 million fine after pleading guilty in federal court to conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine as part of an oil field drug dealing case. [Cal Coast Times]

Claudia Norman, 57, allegedly acted as the supplier for methamphetamine dealers in the Bakken oil fields, which span the U.S. states of Montana and North Dakota. One of the co-conspirators in the case is a Santa Maria man, Keith Coffin, who has already received a 10-year prison sentence.

Last week, Norman pleaded guilty during a hearing in the U.S. district court in Billings, Montana. Federal prosecutors said Norman supplied meth to Coffin and another co-conspirator, Timothy Swope of Sidney, Montana. Swope has already been sentenced to 13 years in prison.

Coffin and Swope worked with another person in order to pay Norman. The conspiracy spanned about one year, beginning in late 2015.

On one occasion, Swope and Coffin paid a person in Sidney, Montana more than $11,000 to go to California and buy 3.5 pounds of meth from Norman. Swope, Coffin and others were to resell the meth in the Bakken area, according to the prosecution.

U.S. Magistrate Judge Timothy Cavan said he will recommend that U.S. District Judge Susan Watters accept Norman’s plea and then sentence her. Cavan granted Norman continued release pending sentencing.

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There is no 10 years to life sentence in the federal sentencing guidelines. You would either receive a determinate amount of years, in which you would do 85% of (no parole with the Feds’ either), or you would do life, which provides for no parole.

What will play in the sentencing under the Feds’ “Minimum Mandatory” guidelines is the amount of drugs sold (for a life sentence the guidelines calls for 10.7 pounds of meth’ or more), or if death or serious bodily injury resulted from the use of the drug and if Ms. Norman has had a past conviction of drug trafficking.

The feds’ have a very complicated sentencing system and statistically very seldom hand down a life sentence. If there were enough aggravating circumstance with Ms. Norman, she could receive a lengthy enough sentence that would effectively keep her incarcerated for “life”, as the sentence would be longer than what a 57 year old would be expected to live.

My understanding is that all oilfield workers are subjected to random drug testing. Something wrong with this picture?

A cup of clean urine isn’t very expensive to buy.

If testing is done properly, that’s not possible. Empty pockets, pat search, temperature monitoring, etc.

Yup, after the big oil companies insurance had to pay out some big settlements, mandatory drug testing if you work on their property. Caused a lot of unemployment in Taft/Maricopa/Kettleman City/Derby Acres, ect. for a while. Lots of drugs being used in the roustabout crew vans in the late 70’s/80’s. Maybe the oil fields in Montana and North Dakota don’t test?

Methamphetamines are out of a person’s system so quickly that it is hard to catch. It also helps the oilfield workers stay up and work those long hours.

My dad worked in the oil fields out in Kern County for 40 years, he just retired this past May. When guys got laid off out there back in the day, they would just go from one oil lease to another. That was back before OSHA and “safety” though. My dad used to put beer in his water cooler. All those guys did it. Crazy.

Most testing these days for these type of substances are hair follicle tests, tests that will reveal substances used months back. Head hair will go back about 90 days, body hair can go back about a year but no less than 180 days.

My Dad was a roughneck in Kern and Monterey Counties from the 30’s until the 60’s, he came from Oklahoma in 1926 and first picked cotton in Bakersfield before being hired on by Standard Oil of California. If you want a short and poignant exposé on that period of time in the oil fields of the Central Valley and Central Coast of California rent the film “There Will Be Blood” with Daniel Day-Lewis. Great film with one of the best actors of our generation.

Shouldn’t meth be legal? More revenue for local governments, which seems to be the standard for legalizing drugs. also more revenue for local dentists.

It makes sense, this is California afterall. Public employees gots to have their pensions and all.

Nahhh, let’s keep up the drug war, it’s been super effective, particularly when you think about how little we have spent on it over the last 45 years.

Couldn’t have said it better. Think of the progress we could have made in proven rehabilitation options with all that money, or the money that would be available now for the big pharm’ driven opioid addiction crisis. Nah, we don’t want that though; better to pay LEA’s billions of dollars in a method with a proven failed record then actually address the issue in much more effective methods. But I guess it’s only normal in the fear driven society we seem to live in…

The drug war would be effective is it wasn’t for all the lopdick liberal bleeding hearts in Ca and abroad defending the right to be a loser.

Wow! Thanks for putting me in my place…

The reason the war on drugs is an abysmal failure is because it didn’t, couldn’t and never will address the foreign manufacturers and suppliers. When they realized this they redirected the war to the end users, making criminals out of people for simple possession and under the influence charges (the vastly predominant conviction(s) made in your war) which in turn made them all but unhireable outcasts, and relegated to your right wing “loser” status, from which there is no return, as you so eloquently represent in your post.

Here, let me give you a conservative stiffdick’s opinion on the war on drugs effect…

“If we cannot stem the American demand for drugs, then there will be little hope of preventing foreign drug producers from fulfilling that demand. We will not get anywhere if we place a heavier burden of action on foreign governments than on America’s own mayors, judges and legislators. You see, the cocaine cartel does not begin in Medellín, Colombia. It begins in the streets of New York, Miami, Los Angeles and every American city where crack is bought and sold.” – First Lady, Nancy Reagan to a United Nations audience on Oct. 25, 1988

As with tobacco and alcohol, it has been found a much more effective approach to addiction is one of education starting at a young age. It’s what Mrs. Reagan’s “Just Say No” approach was trying to do but was scorned and dismissed by law makers and was never given any real consideration.

It is a fact that intervention and rehabilitation outside of prison and or jail is much more effective way of stemming future drug abuse by the abuser. That will never happen to the degree it should as those like you Snoid would rather pay the high price of incarceration and the failed war on drugs.