by Tim Leeds
A Havre man has been convicted of nine offenses by a federal jury in Helena as a result of what local drug agents have called one of the largest drug busts in Havre history.
Paul Joseph Doney, 39, faces a minimum of 25 years in prison when he is sentenced on March 3.
According to court documents, Doney was in a parked car in Havre on Feb. 29 when officers drove by, recognized him and remembered that he was wanted on an arrest warrant in Cascade County. Law enforcement officers pursued Doney, who fled on foot, the document said.
After arresting Doney in a Havre residence, officers searched the car and found about 850 grams of suspected meth, about 200 grams of suspected cocaine, about 2 kilograms of marijuana, more than $8,500 in cash and semiautomatic weapons, according to the Tri-agency Task Force.
Several days later, task force members searched the car again and found an additional $20,000, the task force said.
Doney was taken to the Cascade County jail, where he posted $15,000 bond on March 6 and was released, according to the Cascade County Sheriff's Office.
He was arrested four days later in Spokane, Wash., but was released, according to law enforcement officials there.
No charges were ever filed in Spokane. However, the arrest prompted a Cascade County judge to issue a warrant for his arrest for violating conditions of his release.
On March 19, officers arrested Doney in Havre.
Doney's trial began on the afternoon of Nov. 9 in U.S. District Court in Helena and the 12-person jury reached a verdict last Thursday about 4 p.m.
Doney was convicted on charges of conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine, cocaine and marijuana, possessing meth, cocaine and marijuana with the intent to distribute, two charges of possessing firearms during drug trafficking crimes, and possessing items subject to forfeiture.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Lori Suek, who prosecuted the case, said Doney faces a minumum sentence of 25 years and a maximum of life in prison.
State charges filed against Doney, including felony and misdemeanor drug charges, have been dropped. Hill County Attorney Cyndee Peterson said Wednesday the charges were dropped because Doney faces a long mandatory prison sentence on the federal charges.