Nov 17, 2012 5:05 PM by Claire Anderson - MTN News
GREAT FALLS - What's described as a major methamphetamine operation was interrupted as a nearly three-month investigation came to a head in Great Falls on Thursday.
Robert Boucher of Spokane, believed to be bringing drugs to Great Falls, is now behind bars, along with Tammy Lapie, the woman accused of distributing the meth in our community.
They're both charged with criminal possession of dangerous drugs with intent to distribute, as well as a drug paraphernalia charge.
The Russell Country Drug Task Force has been using informants to conduct controlled drug buys at a home located at 1112 3rd Avenue South since September.
New information from informants as well as observations by the drug task force led officials to obtain a search warrant for the residence on Wednesday night.
Due to the possibility of weapons at the home, the Great Falls Police Department's High-Risk Unit was called in for assistance.
The HRU gained entry to the house and used flash-bangs and pepper-spray to distract the occupants.
Two people were taken into custody; one was soon released, and the other was Lapie.
Lapie's alleged supplier, Boucher, had left the home prior to the search and was soon arrested following a traffic stop not far from the home.
"You know, not every investigation results in what we believe to be a satisfying result, but so far, this investigation has been a huge success,"Chris Hickman of the drug task force said.
"The amount of meth that we recovered in this particular residence would be in the area of approximately $10,000, street value, and that is a fairly significant, and in addition to the narcotics that we found, we also found several thousand dollars in cash, which would indicate additional significant amounts of meth were sold as well," he added.
Taking that much meth off our streets may make a significant impact in our community, but Hickman says it's the arrests that could make the biggest difference.
"We really want to send a message to folks that are considering this type of activity that its, on behalf of the Russell Country Drug Task Force, that at some point, we are going to catch you."
The investigation surrounding the meth bust is continuing; police say they are executing search warrants on several vehicles.