Montana socialite who hosted cocaine parties won’t be doing time

Mansion arrest: Dru Cederberg, 52, served copious amounts of cocaine at lavish drug parties
Dru Cederberg

Dru Cederberg is heir to the Brach’s candy fortune.  She is also a Billings, Montana socialite who held cocaine parties at her home with socially prominent friends.  Perhaps I am being unkind.  The cocaine didn’t come out until late in the evening, after the fine food had been consumed and the help had cleared away the rich desserts.  This drug-fueled social activity went on for at least ten years and involved dozens of prosperous people.

Dru Cederberg won’t be spending a day in prison.  She is white, fifty-two years old, and a recent convert to a higher and purer life.  More importantly, she is a member of high society and the American criminal justice system hates putting women like Dru Cederberg behind bars.

Besides, Dru kindly participated with federal prosecutors–U.S. District Judge Charles C. Lovell thanked her for performing “yoman’s service” for the United States government.  That means she ratted out her friends including businessman Terri Jabs Kurth and Robert L. Eddleman, Carbon County’s former top prosecutor and one-time Montana Supreme Court candidate.

The only person doing serious time for the high-society drug escapade are the three Latino males who supplied the drugs: Domingo Baez, Maurisio Ramiro and Gilberto Acevedo.  Baez, the purported kingpin, will be serving eleven years in federal prison.  There is no question that Baez was bringing in the drugs only because people like Dru Cederberg, Terri Kurth and Robert Eddleman made it worth his while.

Federal authorities could have indicted dozens of prosperous white folks had they chosen to do so–that’s how extensive the drug activity was.  But drug use among the monied class holds little interest for prosecutors at either the federal or state level.

I am not suggesting that Dru Cederberg should have been sentenced to a decade or longer in the slammer (although federal sentencing guidelines could have been manipulated to justify a life sentence).  Eight months of house arrest and a $500,000 fine seems an appropriate sentence.  But ask yourself how things would have played out had Dru Cederberg been a black male street hustler running a crack house in the hood.

Billings businesswoman sentenced for holding cocaine parties 

HELENA – A U.S. District Court judge on Wednesday sentenced Billings businesswoman Dru Cederberg to two years probation, including eight months of house arrest, and fined her $550,000 for attempting to maintain a drug-related premises.

For about a decade, Cederberg, a millionaire and an heir to the Brach’s Confections fortune, hosted series of dinner parties at her home. After the dining ended, people moved to the back of her home, and Cederberg laid out cocaine in the bathroom for the guests’ use, testimony showed.

Cederberg, 52, is the latest person convicted and sentenced in the high-profile conspiracy involving cocaine in Billings and the surrounding area. Cederberg had testified for the federal government when her drug dealer and friend, Domingo Baez, was convicted. She also testified in the trials of some other defendants.

U.S. District Judge Charles C. Lovell said his first inclination was to reject the proposed plea agreement worked out between the U.S. Attorney’s Office and Cederberg’s lawyer that she be sentenced to two years’ probation and a $50,000 forfeiture or fine.

“The plea agreement on its face is exceptionally lenient compared to the sentences imposed on the other defendants,” Lovell said.

Lovell told Cederberg she was more culpable than Terri Jabs Kurth, who served eight months in prison, and was second in culpability only to Baez, who is serving 15 years in prison.

He did praise her role in cooperating with the Justice Department and testifying against some other defendants.

But then Lovell tacked on an additional $500,000 fine and said he would have fined Cederberg more had he been allowed to do so under federal sentencing guidelines.

Marcie Zinke, a federal probation officer, had recommended that Cederberg be incarcerated for 18 months, be sentenced to three years of supervised release afterward and be fined $250,000.

“The reason I have accepted this plea agreement … is certain mental health concerns and the yeoman’s service you provided to the United States,” Lovell said.

He said the evidence would support a greater charge than the Justice Department brought forward.

“But I think the appropriate penalty here is a financial one, rather than one of incarceration,” he said. “A prison sentence is not appropriate for you – at least not at this time.”

Cederberg has net assets of at least $14 million, including three homes valued at a combined $3 million, including the $2 million home in which she lives, Lovell said, quoting the federal probation officer’s report. Cederberg is a single mother with a 15-year-old daughter.

She has been an investor in CFT Inc., which owns Hooligans, a Billings bar, and the Montana Brewing Co., another downtown bar and restaurant. She also has owned an equestrian center outside Billings.

Friends and business associates, in letters submitted to the court, testified to Cederberg’s compassion and widespread anonymous generosity in the Billings area.

“You do have an extreme history of a usage of illegal drugs, I think beginning at about age 17,” Lovell said in sentencing her. “I do understand that you have given up that habit and are not using any illegal drugs. You are what we would refer to as a wealthy individual here in Montana.”

Cederberg’s attorney, Mark Parker, testified that his client has said she hasn’t that used cocaine since 2008.

Lovell told Cederberg he believes she introduced the use of cocaine to a number of who otherwise may not have used the illegal drug.

“I’m very sorry for everything that I’ve done,” Cederberg told Lovell, sobbing quietly. “I don’t deny that I was wrong. I’ve changed my life. I’ve done everything I could possibly do for Mr. (Joe) Thaggard, (the assistant U.S. attorney) the past two and one-half years.”

She added, “I really would like this to be over. It’s been a very long two and one-half years.”

Thaggard acknowledged that Cederberg’s testimony had been valuable in obtaining convictions.

Cederberg told the judge she goes to therapy every week and has worked to turn around her life.

Under the sentencing, Cederberg is forbidden from committing any crimes, prohibited from possessing any controlled substances and from owning any firearms or ammunition. She can’t possess or use alcoholic beverages during the period.

“That means stay out of the bars,” Lovell told her.

Cederberg will be required to wear monitoring devices provided by the probation officer so it can monitor her locations. She cannot leave her home for eight months except for medical reasons, court appearances and any other activities approved in advance by the court.

She will be required to submit to up to regular DNA, urinalysis and breathalyzer tests.

Lovell said each one of the dinner parties where Cederberg laid out cocaine for her guests’ use amounted to “a distribution of an illegal controlled substance,” Lovell said, saying it amounted to thousands of dollars worth of drugs.

Cederberg’s attorney presented the $50,000 check agreed to under the plea deal to the judge, and the Thaggard turned it over to someone from the U.S. Marshals Service.

As for the $500,000 additional fine, Lovell told Cederberg: “If you pay the fine within 30 days, the court won’t apply interest to that amount. I think from your net worth, you’ll be able to do it.”

After Lovell pronounced sentence, he asked Cederberg: “Any questions?”

“No,” said Cederberg, who was crying.

At the conclusion of the three-hour hearing, Cederberg was turned over to federal officials for processing and a urine test before she was allowed to return home.

Asked if he might appeal the sentence, Parker, her attorney said afterward, “I do not have a current intent to appeal. That will be decided by my client, not me.”

11 thoughts on “Montana socialite who hosted cocaine parties won’t be doing time

  1. She is actually an elite of Billings MT the sentencing happened in Helena. She also is an owner of an equestrian center in area that many youth board their horses and take lessons.

  2. Well, Alan, there must be some mistake here. We all know that Lady Justice is blindfolded. She doesn’t know that Dru is a white, wealthy socialite. Or may this Lady Justice is the one with her brains scooped out?

  3. Cederberg sentence was not hard enough $550,000.00 was nothing to her 14 Millions! That’s the way the USA has always done things. Lady Justice is blindfolded but the men & women who work for Lady Justice isn’t! They’re the ones who decide who to arrest, charge, prosecute & sentence. I know that over the years that DRUG DEALER & PUSHER Cederberg; has spent over 1.5 millions on drugs & she was giving a LITE penalty to pay for her crimes. But the little man at the end of the line of DRUGS he would have been giving a HARD sentence (20- LIFE) if prosecutors had investigated him for 1year of activities on the street (he never would have started anyone, those who come to him already have a habit). There will NEVER be an end to this WAR on DRUGS as long as those who work for LADY JUTISE keep looking the other way at those who are really supplying the need for the DRUGS!!! The street hustler, men & women who pack it, those who ship it or bring it in are not the ones who should get the HARD SENTENCE– They NEED to look at those who OWN the LAND, BOATS, PLANES, who order $10,000.00 or More, who use 5,000 or more at PARTIES, & those who GROW the DRUGS and give the HARDER SENTENCES to them! They never look at the HIGHER END OF THE POLE but always at the END OF THAT POLE

  4. Do think about this; Dru Cederberg may have stored her drugs at that equestrian or even gave some of the drugs to those youth who board their horses, took lessons or even her own daughters’ friends. Who knows what all Dru Cederberg did with all the drugs over the years but her?
    I wouldn’t believe any thing she said because her words are self serving!!!
    I hope Billings MT don’t have others like Dru Cederberg!!!

  5. Lady Justice is blindfolded but the men & women who work for Lady Justice isn’t!! Those men & women knew Dru Cederberg was white, wealthy, & socialite. Who knows what; if anything she was holding over them.

  6. The DEA assigned two agents to Steamboat Springs Colorado and they arrested the live in girlfriend of Colorado Judge Joel Thompson on a cocaine related offense.

    However, the Denver Players brothel was associated with cocaine and the feds only prosecuted the madame and the owner for income tax evasion. It’s sort of weird, the judge appointed an expensive criminal drug defense attorney, Joseph Saint-Veltri, at tax payer expense and a dozen documents were deemed confidential. Former federal judge Edward Nottingham was identified as a customer and many Denver lawyers supposedly had credit cards on file for use there. See District of Colorado 10-cr-00580 US v. Brenda L. Stewart.

  7. Just like a now former judge here who’s known for his ‘nose candy’.

    Wealthy, White and Connected = Above the Law.

    Crime pays, just ask a former disgraced Denver cop whose post-police career has seen several State criminal investigations. It’s nice to have friends with black robes to cover your crimes and reward your criminal conduct.

    Where is Justice? Not in courtrooms where judges are abusing their power and running criminal enterprises.

  8. It’s not just who you know, but what you know. A cop or someone with any sophistication or understanding of the justice system would not fall for some of the things that cops try with the low-level drug arrests of ordinary people who know about the system by watching TV, or are sh#* scared of the police and easy to manipulate. And there are very few cops who have short enough triggers to rough up people who can really afford lawyers.

  9. CRIMES PAY: This is what many think but it’s a big lie!
    “Crime pays, just ask a former disgraced Denver cop whose post-police career has seen several State criminal investigations. It’s nice to have friends with black robes to cover your crimes and reward your criminal conduct”
    People really need to understand that what’s done in the dark will come to light, Crime really doesn’t pay because someone somewhere is always keeping a Ace card-complete records of everything that goes on with names, dates, times, places & events to make a deal. In that game of crime everyone is for SELF only! See what Dru Cederberg did-Covered her behind only. It’s just a matter of time!

  10. I have contacted a few people in the parole offices about this information:
    I am a concern citizen that is aware that Dru Cederberg, who is suppose to be on parole for the next 2 years, has potentially violated her sentencing by federal Judge Lovell in May 2011. She has just finished her house arrest when she attended the Scottsdale Arabian Horse Show in February 2012 but was still on parole for next 2 years. There are multiple photos of her attendance that can be found at
    I am also heard after there she went to Thermal, Ca for a few week horse show.

    If she did have permission to leave the state for a pleasure trip right out of house arrest and still on parole, it just shows how the elite play by their own rules!

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