Written by The Herald-News
William Francis Dupree appeared in Montana 15th Judicial Court to change his plea from “not guilty” to “no contest” on the felony charge of criminal possession of dangerous drugs.
Pleading “no contest” means that the defendant concedes the charges alleged without disputing or admitting guilt or offering a defense.
According to court documents, Roosevelt County Sheriff’s Deputies Patrick O’Connor and Curt Holum were conducting a business check at the Gold Dust Casino in Bainville.
O’Connor noticed a green pickup with a person inside who appeared to be attempting to hide from officers. Deputies ran the plates through dispatch. The registered owner, William Francis Dupree, had outstanding warrants for his arrest. When officers returned to the vehicle, the individual was gone.
Officers went into the casino, made contact with Dupree and arrested him for the outstanding warrants. Holum attempted to identify the female with Dupree. The woman provided Holum with a name that was different from the name Dupree gave O’Connor. The female, identified as Tanya Maria Hilliard, was arrested for a California probation warrant.
O’Connor went back to the pickup to make sure it was secured. He searched the vehicle and found a hunting rifle and a glass marijuana pipe.
Dupree and Hilliard were advised of their Miranda rights. Dupree was asked about the pipe and he said it was his pipe he used to smoke marijuana and that there was a gram of marijuana in the pickup. He refused to allow O’Connor to remove the contraband. During transport, he stated that any other drugs or contraband in the vehicle belonged to Hilliard.
The vehicle was towed to Wolf Point and a search warrant was obtained. O’Connor located a coffee can on the front passenger floorboard. When the coffee grounds were removed, there was a white plastic container that replaced the bottom of the can. The container contained a tied plastic baggie of suspected crystal methamphetamine. There was also folded paper bindle containing a white powdery substance consistent with methamphetamine. A green leafy substance, similar in appearance and odor to marijuana, was located in a pouch of the vehicle. Items of drug paraphernalia and a high-powered rifle were also found in the search.
Dupree testified to the facts of the offenses and the court accepted the plea after Judge David Cybulski found it was voluntary.
The defense and the prosecution filed an ‘own recognizance’ to allow Dupree to be free while he awaits his sentencing. Cybulski advised the defendant to stay clean and keep in contact with his attorney.