By Patrick Winderl/Havre Daily Newsfirstname.lastname@example.org
Law enforcement officers seized more than 12 pounds of marijuana Wednesday and arrested three people, including a man whose arrest last month led police to make the largest drug bust in Havre history, the Tri-Agency Task Force said today.
Those arrested were Paul Joseph Doney, 38, his girlfriend, Sheila Benner, 24, and Robert Oats, 27. Prosecutors this morning filed drug charges against the three, who are being held in the Hill County Detention Center. Bond for Doney has been set at $200,000, while that for Benner and Oats is $50,000.
The arrest of Doney on a Cascade County warrant Feb. 29 led police to secure search warrants and confiscate drugs with an estimated street value of $112,000, the task force said. Doney has not been charged in connection with that bust.
New court documents shed more light on the events of Feb. 29:
Most of the drugs were found inside a 1996 Eagle Talon that Doney had been sitting in before he fled from a Hill County sheriff's deputy, according to a document seeking the forfeiture of the vehicle, alleging it was used to transport drugs.
Police obtained a search warrant for the vehicle and the east end house Doney was arrested in.
Marijuana, cocaine and methamphetamine were found inside the house, along with a key to a safe, according to the petition for forfeiture. The safe was found inside the Talon, and contained meth and marijuana, the forfeiture document said.
Doney had $2,500 on his person and $26,000 was found inside the vehicle, according to the task force. In total, police seized 847 grams of meth, 201 grams of cocaine and 4.4 pounds of marijuana, the task force said. Three semiautomatic weapons - an AK-47 assault rifle, a Tech-9 machine pistol and a 9-mm handgun - were also found in the vehicle, according to the task force.
Doney was taken to the Cascade County jail on the outstanding warrant. According to the Cascade County Sheriff's Office, he faces one felony and six misdemeanor charges in that jurisdiction.
Doney posted $15,000 bond on March 6 and was released. He left the state and was arrested four days later in Spokane, Wash., on charges of possession of dangerous drugs with intent to distribute and malicious mischief, according to a press release from the task force.
He was released from jail in Spokane on March 15, the Spokane County Sheriff's Office said this morning.
Cascade County then issued a warrant for Doney's arrest for violating conditions of release set by a judge when Doney posted bond on March 6.
Police received information that Doney had returned to Havre and might have been staying at Oats' house, according to a press release from the task force. On Wednesday, agents went to Oats' house and were given permission to look for Doney, the press release said. Doney was not at the residence, but agents noticed a small amount of marijuana in plain view, according to the press release.
Agents obtained a search warrant for Oats' house, and seized 12.28 pounds of marijuana, the press release said.
FBI and task force agents then went to Benner's house to look for Doney, according to a criminal complaint filed in Hill County Justice Court.
When Benner refused to allow the agents to search her house, agents secured a search warrant, the complaint said. During the search, agents arrested Doney and discovered small quantities of meth and marijuana.
Doney and Benner are each charged with felony and misdemeanor possession of dangerous drugs, and misdemeanor possession of drug paraphernalia. Oats has been charged with possession of dangerous drugs with intent to distribute.