Father, son in prison after conspiring to distribute cocaine


KALISPELL, Mont. - A Flathead father and son duo is headed to federal prison for dealing cocaine in the Flathead.

Court documents say that Scott Hineman and his son Benjamin Hineman sold 5 kilograms of cocaine over 3 years. That amount has a street value of a half a million dollars.

The two were caught by federal agents after dealing cocaine to people in Flathead County.

NBC Montana looked through the court documents and found out that in March 2013, members of the Northwest Montana Drug Task Force received information from an informant saying that Ben Hineman was dealing cocaine. Later that month, the informant started purchasing four ounces of cocaine from Hineman under the supervision of the Northwest Montana Drug Task Force.

The documents show that a search was conducted and authorities found 68 grams of cocaine and a firearm.

The Flathead County sheriff says that the dealing of drugs, especially cocaine, does happen often in the Flathead.

"Certainly it exists here and is a problem here," said Sheriff Chuck Curry.

Curry says it could have been any drug.

"It's a matter of supply and demand. Where there's a demand there will be a supply. Or, conversely what there's the most supply of will sometimes be the drug that's the biggest problem," Curry said.

The Hinemans' ties to the Flathead run deep. They owned a carpet and floor covering business in Whitefish, called Oriental Secrets.

NBC Montana went to the location but found it empty. People who work in the building say they remember the Hinemans' business but haven't heard anything from them in years.

Newspaper archives also show the Hinemans' last few years weren't easy. In 2008, Scott's son Ian died from carbon monoxide poisoning. The family launched an effort called Ian's Challenge to help keep other people safe.

However, NBC Montana could not find anything current on the family. Neighbors around the Hineman residence say it's been quiet. There is even a for sale sign out front of the home.

Scott Hineman was sentenced to 10 years in prison and his son Benjamin was sentenced to 5.

Both are in custody at the Missoula County jail.