Craig William Frazier #09182-046
Offense: Conspiracy to distribute marijuana (21 USC Sec. 841 “B”; Sec 846 Conspiracy(Marijuana) and Sec. 851)
Sentence: 40 years; 8 years supervised release
Incarcerated Since: 06/24/05
Priors: Small sales of marijuana and cocaine; Escape (walk away from a PRC center in 1993)
Forfeitures: cash, home, several vehicles, home furnishings and electronics
Craig Frazier has the unfortunate luck of sharing the anniversary day of his incarceration on a de-facto life sentence for a marijuana conspiracy, with his birthday. Something that has forever put a damper on the annual life “celebration” for him.
Frazier says the case that landed him behind bars on such an egregiously long sentence was largely tried in the media and the reality of what happened was far different from what was reported in the local Montana press a the time.
Not that he didn’t sell marijuana, he definitely did. While Craig’s father had a long history of both using and selling drugs of all sorts, the younger Frazier limited his activities to strictly marijuana. However, Craig had been raised by this man since he was a teenager and more or less inherited his father’s weed business.
Frazier acknowledges he was an adult in charge of his own destiny at the time of his arrest, but he also says he had no clue that selling pot could land a person in prison for life…or in his case de-facto life.
To complicate matters, Craig’s father was found shot to death at the family home. What was originally thought to be a murder turned out to actually be a suicide, but not before the local Montana Press had engaged in wild speculation, and turned the Frazier family’s tragedy into a huge regional scandal.
Like many of the marijuana lifers, Craig Frazier was sentenced as if he was a drug kingpin, yet the amounts he was charged with do not support that scenario.
Craig does admit he was a local dealer. His current sentence stemmed from a state charge of felony possession with intent to distribute 558 grams of marijuana. However, the local drug task force wanted a stiffer sentence and asked the feds to indict Frazer for the same offense. The state charges were suddenly dropped, the amount was bumped up to 100 kilos, and Craig Frazier was facing a federal conspiracy charge.
Craig says he was sentenced to 4 times the mandatory minimum for the amount of marijuana in his case. At sentencing Craig’s judge said he handed down the harsh sentence because every meth dealer in his court started out by smoking pot. Despite the fact that Craig Frazier had no meth charges, his judge was hooked on the “marijuana is a gateway drug” false narrative and sentenced accordingly.
By contrast, Craig Frazier’s supplier and co-defendant received 71 months for his involvement in the conspiracy while Craig received seven times that.
Craig Frazier’s past criminal history contains no incidences of violence, and he has maintained a clean prison record for over seven years. He has continued his education while in prison and maintained steady employment working both in the prison library and helping other inmates get their GEDs.
If he is granted clemency, Craig Frazier’s greatest wish is to go to the College of Great Falls, Montana to take their 2-year computer science course. He says, “At 50, I could possibly be the oldest student in the classroom, but it’s something I have always wanted to do.”
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