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From the courts: District Court

Havre thief, drug dealer gets 5 years


November 30, 2017

A Havre thief and methamphetamine dealer received five years with the Department of Corrections for stealing a pickup truck and breaking into a home to get into the owner’s safes and lockboxes.

Zachariah Lee Ambler, born in 1995, was sentenced Monday in state District Court in Havre to 15 years with 10 suspended for felony burglary; five years for felony criminal possession of dangerous drugs; and five years for felony theft Monday in District Court in Havre. The sentences will run at the same time.

Ambler committed his offenses within four days of each other in June.

A Havre Police Officer was patrolling the Fairview Trailer park June 5 when he noticed a Ford pickup truck he had previously seen Ambler driving. The officer checked the license plate registration, and it came back stolen from Pete’s Auto Sales in Great Falls. The officer talked to someone in the residence who said Ambler had left the truck there earlier to have the windows tinted and the oil changed.

The officer had dispatch call Pete’s Auto Sales. Someone from the car lot said they had the title to the truck but the vehicle was missing. The officer had the $28,000 truck seized and taken to the police department to the evidence garage.

After getting permission from car lot management, the officers, and a Safe Trail Task Force agent, searched the truck. Among the items found were a baggie with methamphetamine, a digital scale with meth on it, a slim jim usually used to open locked vehicles and multiple Montana license plates. Dispatch looked up the plates and the search indicated both plates were connected to stolen vehicles.

Four days later, Ambler was involved in another law-breaking incident.

A man called police June 9 to report someone was in his home and rummaging through his belongings. Officers responded and apprehended Ambler after finding him in the basement.

The investigating officer noticed that multiple safes and lockboxes in the home looked to have been tampered with.

In the police car, Ambler told the detective that someone was on the hills in the distance westward, pointing guns at him. The detective looked and did not see anything.

Ambler was urine tested at the Havre Police Department and came up positive for THC, amphetamines and methamphetamine. Inside Ambler’s pocket, the detective found 1.6 grams of meth.

The detective went back to the burglarized house and further investigation found evidence that the safes, which contained silver collectors’ quarters and nuggets, had been damaged from being hit and pried on.

The detective spoke to Ambler at the Hill County Detention Center two days later. Ambler said he met two people at the bottom of the hill and they walked to the house together. One of the people owed him money, Ambler said, not specifying why. He said the two people “just disappeared” before police arrived.


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