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Drug case highlights underside of Bakken oil boom

BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) -- Prosecutors have netted a string of guilty pleas among the suspects in an interstate drug trafficking case that's highlighted the criminal underside of an oil boom sweeping the Northern Plains. The latest to admit to federal charges is Robert Farrell Armstrong of Moses Lake, Washington -- described by authorities as the supplier for a large methamphetamine ring that operated in the Bakken oil patch. Armstrong pleaded guilty to possession of methamphetamine with intent to distribute during a Wednesday federal court appearance in Billings.

He faces a minimum 10 years in prison. Armstrong was arrested in October in a crackdown aimed at offsetting rising crime in the oil producing region along the Montana-North Dakota border. Nine others have pleaded guilty in related cases.

Several similar cases from North Dakota are pending.