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Drug bust nets five in Troy Two arrested caught in Dec raid on same residence

by Benjamin Kibbey Western News
| February 26, 2019 3:00 AM

With another successful drug bust under their belts, the Troy Police Department and Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office are continuing to grow the cooperative relationship they have forged to crack down on drug trafficking in Lincoln County.

The combined force of deputies and officers descended on 120 Yaak Avenue the night of Feb. 8 to execute a search warrant for dangerous drugs and drug paraphernalia.

The address is the residence of Jeremiah Gardner and Michelle Lowe, who — along with Paul Kelso, Jack Hamilton and Jeremiah Stevens — were arrested Feb. 8.

All five suspects arrested in the Feb. 8 raid were arraigned Monday, Feb. 25 in Montana 19th Judical District Court on felony criminal possession of dangerous drugs and misdemeanor possession of drug parphernalia. Lowe pleaded guilty to both charges and the other four pleaded not guilty.

That address was also the scene of a similar bust on Dec. 10, when officers and deputies executed a previous warrant and arrested Gardner, Lowe, Richard Pefferman and Kenneth Kanzler for charges related to possession of drugs and drug paraphernalia.

According to court documents, when the joint law enforcement team entered the residence Feb. 8, someone inside the residence was heard yelling, “Go!”

Stevens was detained outside the residence by Deputy Boyd White after Stevens jumped out of a rear bedroom window.

Lowe was found in a front room and Gardner was located asleep in a back bedroom. Hamilton and Kelso were found hiding in the rear bathroom.

Law enforcement found a baggy of substance that tested positive for methamphetamine in a jacket that also held Gardner’s EBT card.

Law enforcement also found a case containing over 30 grams of suspected methamphetamine, a digital scale, a pipe and baggies.

According to court documents, Stevens had been released only the day before in connection with a parole violation.

During the Dec. 10 raid, the individuals arrested — including Lowe and Gardner — were found at a residence on Spokane Avenue. However, drugs were found at 120 Yaak Avenue during a carefully coordinated simultaneous raid on both locations to prevent any subjects at one residence from tipping off residents of the other residence.

Coordination

With the second joint action against drug trafficking in Troy in only two months, Lincoln County Undersheriff Brian Griffeth and Troy Police Chief Katie Davis were in agreement that these operations are getting smoother with time.

“The relationship between Troy and the Sheriff’s Office has clearly gotten better,” Griffeth said. That includes both intelligence gathering and sharing, as well as operations.

“It’s just improved to a point to where both agencies are getting used to each other now, so it’s making it a lot smoother when they’re going and doing these types of operations,” he said.

Davis expressed great appreciation for the support Troy has had, particularly from the drug detectives at the Sheriff’s Office.

“We’re on the same team, regardless of what color shirt we’re wearing or what patch is on our shoulder. Everybody is very much working towards the same, common goal,” she said.

While two of the suspects in the Feb. 8 raid had also been picked up two months ago on similar charges, Davis said she hopes that the message will start to hit home for those involved in the drug trade locally.

It’s difficult to judge whether efforts have discouraged those in trafficking, she said. As long as there are people seeking drugs, law enforcement will have someone to lock up for dealing.

However, she said she hopes the raids will have some deterrent effect.

Davis said she can’t quantify tips in terms of whether people are more willing to come forward with information than they were prior to the Dec. 10 bust. However, she said it seems they are getting more “bread crumbs.”

Griffeth said that the raids themselves also provide good information that helps law enforcement build future cases and better-understand how drugs are trafficked in the county.

Troy residents are tired of the drug culture in their town, and would like to see it go away completely,” Davis said. “The town doesn’t want it here.”

“The bottom line is, we have some really great teamwork going on right now with the Sheriff’s Office, and I’d like to see it continue. It’s just getting better and better,” Davis said.