Written by John Plestina
A joint operation by the Fort Peck Tribes Department of Law and Justice and Roosevelt County Sheriff’s Office took down an alleged marijuana growing and distribution operation on Custer Street across from Southside Elementary School.
Felony state charges have been filed against Dustin Kinzie, 20, Dougal McMorris, 19, and Pryce Paulson, 20, all Wolf Point males. All three were arraigned in 15th District Court Wednesday, Nov. 12.
Tribal charges were filed against three individuals.
FPTDLJ Capt. Jim Summers reported that Arlyn “A.J.” Headdress Jr. and Tyler Nygaard, both Wolf Point adult males, and Nevaeh Yellowrobe, a Wolf Point adult female, were all charged in tribal court with criminal possession with intent to sell, gun complicity with a drug crime, felony child abuse and possession of drug paraphernalia.
Assistant Roosevelt County Attorney Jordan Knudsen said Montana law allows for a separate felony charge for dealing drugs near a school. He said the investigation of the case is not completed.
Summers said Monday, Nov. 17, that it was unknown whether federal charges would be filed against anyone charged in the case. He said there is a federal enhancement for selling drugs near a school.
Kinzie pleaded not guilty to criminal production/manufacture of dangerous drugs, criminal possession of dangerous drugs with intent to distribute, criminal possession of drug paraphernalia and criminal endangerment.
McMorris pleaded not guilty to criminal possession of dangerous drugs with intent to sell, criminal production/manufacture of dangerous drugs, criminal endangerment, criminal possession of drug paraphernalia.
Paulson, who has been free on bond, pleaded not guilty to felony criminal production or manufacture of dangerous drugs.
Trial dates for all three are scheduled for Feb. 12.
According to district court charging documents, the arrests and charges stem from a tribal drug investigation that began with a 911 call from a woman reporting that her grandson was smoking marijuana. A tribal officer arrested the adult grandson, who later told tribal investigators that he had been purchasing one to three grams of marijuana per week from Kinzie for seven months. The individual also named McMorris and other people as local sources for marijuana. Investigators also found text messages on the man’s cell phone arranging purchases of marijuana.
According to charging documents, tribal and county officers entered Kinzie’s residence at 416 Custer Street with a search warrant, Tuesday, Oct. 14. The officers found five marijuana plants, grow equipment, about one half pound of marijuana packaged in one ounce baggies in a backpack belonging to McMorris, two ounces of marijuana in a black air vault belonging to Kinzie, several pipes and bongs, several digital scales, small unopened jewelers bags that are commonly used to package drugs, marijuana seeds, paraphernalia, a .25 caliber pistol, an empty box and receipt for a Mossberg pump shotgun, $783 in cash and marijuana growing equipment in boxes with shipping labels addressed to Paulson. Charging documents also allege that Paulson’s name was on some of the boxes containing equipment.
The charging documents also allege that Paulson admitted that he purchased equipment for the grow operation and that it was shipped to him during an interview with RCSO Sgt. Patrick O’Connor on Wednesday, Oct. 15. Paulson also admitted to O’Connor that he purchased marijuana seeds for the growing operation.
The charging documents also allege that Yellowrobe told investigators that Kinzie and McMorris have sold marijuana from the house and that both have used their cars to deliver marijuana.
Court documents state that Yellowrobe is Kinzie’s girlfriend and that she and her 1-year-old child were present in the house when the search warrant was executed and that there was a strong odor of marijuana present. Officers contacted BIA Social Services to respond to the child’s exposure to marijuana.
Tyler Nygaard told investigators that Kinzie and McMorris were the main sellers of the pot and that he had seen Kinzie make seven to eight sales a day and McMorris make four to five. Nygaard also told investigators that he had been in Billings with McMorris and witnessed McMorris purchase a pound of marijuana for $3,000. Nygaard also alleged to investigators that McMorris is the “main boss of the group that sells marijuana.”
Charging documents also allege that Headdress made statements to investigators corroborating assertions by Yellowrobe and Nygaard.
Written by Herald-News
The annual Wolf Point-Poplar Ducks Unlimited banquet was held at the Elks Club Saturday, Nov. 15. (Photos by John Plestina)
Written by Herald-News
The Wolf Point Museum held one of its two annual fundraisers — a wine tasting, art auction and spaghetti dinner — at the Elks Club Friday, Nov. 14.
First photo: Mentalist and magician Paul Draper (left), who headlines at the Venician in Las Vegas, Nev., and inspired The Mentalist TV series, performed during the event. Assisting him as volunteers in his act were Wolf Point residents (left to right) Duane Kurokawa, Chris Dschaak, Julie D’Ambrosio, Tori Matejovski and Halie Smith. (Photos by John Plestina)
Written by John Plestina
With the voters approving bond funding for a new jail on Tuesday, Nov. 4, the Roosevelt County Commissioners voted, Monday, Nov. 17, to move forward and hire Kimme and Associates, a Champaign, Ill.-based criminal justice facilities planner, to develop a request for proposals from architects and then to send the RFP to architects.
Dennis Kimme and Kimme and Associates has worked with the county on the jail issue for several years.
“He knows this jail better than anybody,” commissioner Gary Macdonald said.
“He’s been with us since Day 1,” jail administrator Melvin Clark said.
Nearly 57 percent of voters approved the bonding measure for a new jail and improved office space for the Roosevelt County Sheriff’s office with a 47.58 percent voter turnout. A lower, 34.88 percent voter turnout prevented passage of a similar measure in June.
The approval authorizes the county commissioners to issue and sell $11.86 million in general obligation bonds to be repaid within 20 years.
The projected mill levy increase would add $42.68 annually to the taxes on a residence assessed at $100,000.
The current jail is under-sized and outdated.
Legal action brought by the American Civil Liberties Union in 2013 forced Roosevelt County to reduce the number of jail beds by nearly one half and the threat of further legal action against the county has loomed over the aging jail that does not meet current standards.
Macdonald said he contacted the bonding company and was told they could not move forward until after the commissioners canvas the election, which will happen later this week.
He said the bonding company will bond half of the project at a time.
“That gives us the opportunity to find money so we won’t have to bond as much the second time around,” Macdonald said.
The county will work with Great Northern Development Corporation to search for other funding sources.
Commission chairman Duane Nygaard asked what could happen if an architect projects a higher construction cost than Kimme had projected.
Macdonald responded that it could reduce the number of jail beds.
“Hopefully they estimated this high enough,” he said.
Written by John Plestina
Food Pantry volunteer Shayne Lee stands in one of three former racquetball courts that will soon be stocked with food. (Photo by John Plestina)
The cleanup and renovations continue as the former Boys and Girls Club of Fort Peck will soon become Food Pantry Inc., that will fill a void in Wolf Point.
Currently, the nearest food pantries are located in Culbertson and Glasgow.
The Fort Peck Tribes and Food Pantry Inc., recently signed a lease for the tribal-owned building, located at 502 Main St., in Wolf Point.
Repairs are being made to the building that include damages from the 2011 flood.
“I have to make it handicapped accessible,” Rose Neumiller Green said. “I’m really pushing it to say the middle of December, but it will probably be the first of January at the very latest.”
The plan is to utilize the entire building.
The upstairs portion includes a usable kitchen and a large space that could become a dining room. The immediate plan is for a food pantry only.
“We’re using a web-based registration system,” Green said.
Emergency needs will be fulfilled. Green said if a social worker or police refer someone in need of emergency food, the food pantry would make sure the person or family leaves with food.
The food pantry will serve anyone in need living on the Fort Peck Reservation and expansion beyond Wolf Point is possible in the future.
“Eventually were looking at Poplar and maybe Fort Kipp,” Green said.
The Food Pantry steering committee consists of Billie Brownlee, Winona Runs Above Meyer, Roxanne Gourneau and Green.
Volunteers are needed.
Contact Green at 650-5667 to volunteer or with any questions.