By Tim Eberly
Dealing drugs in Hill County has become a family affair, but the FBI and Tri-Agency Task Force in Havre have recently partnered to expose the largest drug ring comprised of members of two separate families in the last five years, the FBI said Wednesday.
Seven individuals, including four residents of Havre, have been slapped with federal indictments this week. Arrested on Monday, three of the suspected drug dealers pleaded not guilty in U.S. District Court in Great Falls on Tuesday. Four others received federal summons early this week. More indictments are pending for suspected upper-level members of the crime ring, according to the FBI.
The largest drug bust since the FBI established a bureau in Havre in 1997, the crime ring was selling pounds of methamphetamine but also included smaller amounts of cocaine and marijuana, according to the FBI. At the time of their arrest, most of the offenders were unemployed. They had been involved in the conspiracy as distributors for at least two years, the FBI said.
Corrina and Fabian "Juice" Saddler, a married couple living on Rocky Boy's Indian Reservation, were arrested on Monday. Fabian, 25, was charged with conspiracy to distribute meth and possession with intent to distribute meth, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office. Corrina, 22, was charged with possession with intent to distribute methampetamine. They have a detention hearing scheduled for Friday.
If convicted, Corrina Saddler faces a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison and a $1,000,000 fine, in addition to three years of supervised release. Fabian Saddler faces up to 50 years in prison, a $6 million fine and 11 years of supervised release.
Before the Saddlers were arrested, authorities picked up 31-year-old Gabe Lawrence, a Havre resident, and charged him with conspiracy to distribute meth, the FBI said.
In early August, law enforcement agencies served a state search warrant at Lawrence's house. Though he was originally arrested on a state charge, Lawrence was later indicted in federal court because of his alleged involvement with the larger drug conspiracy, the FBI said.
Siblings Richard and Audrey Mae Bauer, along with Audrey's common-law husband, Robert "Junior" Douglass Healy III, were issued federal summons this week on similar drug-related charges. All are residents of Havre.
Another person, whom the FBI will not identify because his file is currently sealed, was issued the same summons. According to the FBI, the unidentified man is a "lieutenant" a larger distributor in the drug ring. The lieutenant's supplier is the person who is believed to tie the two families together, the FBI said.
Lawrence, who has three drug-related arrests since 1993, is a distant relative of the Bauers and Healy, the FBI said.
On Jan. 17, local authorities served a federal warrant at Audrey Bauer's house, where they found distribution amounts of meth and cash, according to the FBI. Agents said they believe Audrey Bauer, 31, and Robert Healy, 33, were selling meth from their residence to street-level addicts, and conducted several controlled purchases at the house.
The task force and the FBI connected the drug dealers via local arrests, anonymous complaints, Crimestoppers tips and informants.
If you have any information regarding drug dealing in the Havre area, call the local FBI at 265-7181 or the task force at 265-1192.