Drug Task Force Tackles Narcotics Crime in Flathead - ABC FOX MONTANA NEWS, WEATHER, SPORTS - KTMF/KWYB

Drug Task Force Tackles Narcotics Crime in Flathead

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The Flathead Tribal and Polson City Police and the Lake County Sheriff's Office have pooled resources to create the Mission Mountain Drug Task Force.

Flathead law enforcement officials said the task force has already helped open 61 drug cases.

Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribal Police Chief Craige Couture said he worked with Polson Police Chief Wade Nash on Kalispell's drug task force back in 2003.

"Working together as a team as we did on the drug task force is the only to do it because none of us have the resources and manpower to cover what we need to cover as far as drugs," Couture said.

But, eventually, Couture said federal funding for their drug task force positions in the northwest region dried up. So, last year, Couture, Nash and Lake County Sheriff Jay Doyle decided to form a drug task force that could focus on drug crimes in the Mission and Flathead Valleys.

"The cooperation, I must say, with the Polson City Police Department at this time has just been phenomenal," Couture said.

Police in Polson said they've seen the use of narcotic drugs rapidly increase since 2005, but since the formation of the task force in February, they've already sent 26 people through the local court system on felony drug charges.

"Narcotics just don't affect the user or the seller, it affects the hard working individuals that go to work everyday and are putting food on their table for their families," said Chief Nash.

Nash said two tribal police officers work with one Polson City officer on the task force, whose positions are funded by their respective departments.

Assistant Polson Police Chief Clint Cottle said the three officers often end up working 24-hour days to keep their cases moving.

"Which can be disruptive for their families and whatnot, so it's a big contribution and a show of dedication from them," Cottle said.

Cottle said the trio will be joined by a sheriff's deputy and a drug canine within the next few months to continue battling narcotic drug crimes in the area.

Nash added, "It's always going to be a continual problem and that's why we need to stay on top of it."

Mission Mountain Drug Task Force members encourage anyone with information about drug activity to call Lake County law enforcement immediately:

Lake Co. Dispatch: (406) 883-7301
Flathead Tribal Dispatch: (406) 675-4700

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