Updated: GFPD responded to incident in Valley View area

The Great Falls Police Department responded to an incident in the 1100 block of 10th Avenue Northwest on Aug. 2.

The high risk unit was deployed and the department’s MRAP armored vehicle was on scene.

According to GFPD, officers were attempting to serve a search warrant.

Officers evacuated nearby residences as a precaution.

On Aug. 3, GFPD said that the Russell Country Drug Task Force had launched an operation on Aug. 2 to arrest known drug traffickers operating in the city.

The operation resulted in HRU being deployed to the residence at 1108 10th Ave. N.W. where a suspect was taken into custody without injury after a three-hour standoff.

The investigation leading up to the events of Aug. 2 was the result of a long-term effort by the Russell Country Drug Task Force to identify members and patterns of a large drug trafficking organization that has worked from Michigan, through North Dakota and in to Montana.

“Since late 2022, this organization has worked to infiltrate Great Falls, through the distribution of fentanyl pills and we believe the organization has accrued thousands of dollars, at the expense of our citizens’ health and prosperity,” according to GFPD.

The Aug. 2 operation resulted in the following arrests:

Demitruis Milan, 33 YOA

  • felony, distribution of dangerous drugs (warrant previously obtained by RCDTF)
  • felony, conspiracy to commit distribution of dangerous drugs
  • felony, possession of dangerous drugs
  • two felony counts of tampering with/destroying evidence
  • felony, possession of property subject to criminal forfeiture
  • misdemeanor, obstruction of justice

Demetrius Litsey, 27

  • felony, conspiracy to commit distribution of dangerous drugs
  • felony, possession of property subject to criminal forfeiture
  • felony, criminal Endangerment

George Smith, 40

  • felony, conspiracy to commit distribution of dangerous drugs
  • misdemeanor, obstruction of justice

According to court documents, a warrant was issued for Milan for a felony count of distribution of dangerous drugs on July 18 with bail set at $100,000.

According to charging documents, GFPD officers and others were attempting a vehicle take down and arrest of suspects involved in the ongoing drug task force investigation.

The vehicle, a 2022 Toyota Tacoma with California plates, stopped in the 800 block of River River North to conduct a drug transaction, according to charging documents.

When police attempted to make an arrest the driver, identified at Litsey, maneuvered around the blocking vehicle and sped off at a high rate of speed, ignoring police commands, according to charging documents.

Litsey continued at a high rate of speed through the intersection of River Drive North and 9th Street at about 70 miles per hour, according to GFPD.

Air surveillance was watching the vehicle through the pursuit, according to court documents.

Litsey continued on River Drive before stopping in the 1000 block and kicking out the passenger who had gotten into the vehicle for the drug transaction, according to court documents.

Litsey continued through the city at a high rate of speed, running stop lights and passing in no passing zone.

“Fentanyl is a major problem in our world today and your drug task force takes it seriously. We strongly encourage community members to understand the severity of drugs like fentanyl, to educate children about the dangers of drug use, and to report suspicious behavior that might be indicative of drug trafficking. Only together, can we stem the flow of narcotics into our community and make it a safer place to live, work and play,” according to GFPD.

The Russell Country Drug Task Force is comprised of law enforcement officers from GFPD, Cascade County Sheriff’s
Office, Montana Department of Justice’s Division of Criminal Investigation, U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation, U.S. Homeland Security Investigations, U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, and is supported by the Montana Army Guard, Cascade County Attorney’s Office, and the local U.S. Attorney’s Office.