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Two men are in custody after drug raid


Two Great Falls men were arrested in Havre on Friday during a multi-agency drug bust.

One of them - Morris Duane Buckles, 37 - is on parole after serving time in prison for negligent homicide, state probation and parole officer Jerome Smith said today

Buckles is being held in the Hill County Detention Center on a parole violation. His companion, Brian David Wright, 34, is being held in Cascade County on a misdemeanor probation violation, Smith said.

No drug charges have been filed. An investigation is continuing, task force agent Jerry Nystrom said.

The FBI, the Tri-Agency Task Force, the Hill County Sheriff's Office and the state Probation and Parole Bureau were involved in Friday's bust, which netted 60 grams of methamphetamine, 2.5 pounds of marijuana and $15,000 in cash, Nystrom said.

According to Smith, state probation and parole officer Ed Schmidt conducted a search of Buckles' vehicle and the hotel room where he was staying at the request and with the assistance of the FBI and the task force.

One stipulation of Buckles' parole was that a state parole officer could search his person or possessions at any time, Smith said.

Buckles was wanted on an arrest warrant from Cascade County, Smith said. The county on Thursday issued the warrant, reporting that Buckles had absconded from the supervision of his parole officer in Great Falls, Smith said.

Buckles was apprehended at 10:10 a.m. Friday near the Holiday Village Shopping Center. Hill County sheriff's deputies assisted FBI agents in making the arrest, Hill County Sheriff Greg Szudera said.

Several hours later, agents raided the hotel room and arrested Wright, Nystrom said. Drugs and cash were found in the hotel room, he said.

Buckles was sentenced in Garfield County to 10 years in prison after being convicted of one count of negligent homicide in April of 1998, Garfield County Attorney Nick Murnion said today. He was also convicted of felony criminal possession of dangerous drugs, the attorney said.

The convictions stemmed from an incident in which Buckles drove a vehicle off a bridge 10 miles east of Jordan, resulting in the death of the female passenger, Murnion said. Drugs were found at the scene of the accident, resulting in the second charge, he said. Buckles served about five years of the sentence and was released on parole on Feb. 25, Smith said.

Smith said he doesn't know why Wright is on probation.

Buckles will appear in state District Court this week for a probable cause hearing, Smith said. The hearing is to determine whether Buckles has violated his parole, he added.


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