Court documents show more detail of Aug. 2 chase, standoff

Cascade County prosecutors filed additional charging documents in justice court on Aug. 4 and Aug. 7 related to the drug ring investigation that included a standoff on Aug. 2.

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.

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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.

In documents filed Aug. 4, prosecutors said that the Russell Country Drug Task Force had identified a group of males out of Detroit who were distributing counterfeit fentanyl “m30” pills throughout Great Falls and Montana.

Milan was identified as the apparent leader of the group and other members were Litsey and Smith, as well as Lance Rusan, who has not yet been charged.

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Confidential sources and informants told the task force that the group had been in the Great Falls area off and on since December of 2022. Those sources told investigators that Milan arranges things and they then meet up with Litsey and Smith who had recently come to Great Falls, according to court documents.

The confidential sources told investigators that they speak with Milan and then meet with Litsey and others, usually at a park. Informants told police that Milan and others often wore construction vests to pose as park workers, according to court documents.

On Aug. 2, Litsey and Smith were observed conducting hand-to-hand drug transactions in Giant Springs State Park. A GFPD detective saw three individual separate transactions, according to court documents.

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Litsey and Smith were arrested after a car chase on Aug. 2 and around the same time, task force detectives with the assistance of GFPD’s high risk unit, executed a search warrant at 1108 10th Ave. N.W. Before executing the search warrant, detectives and HRU attempted to arrest a vehicle connected to the residence but it fled at a high rate of speed before the occupants ditched the vehicle in an attempt to get back into the house, according to court documents.

Law enforcement determined that Milan was still in the house and he did not comply with commands.

HRU put cold gas into the house to get anyone to come out, but no one did, and detectives wore gas masks to execute the search warrant inside the house, according to court documents.

Eventually, HRU cleared the house and found Milan, who was taken into custody.

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While searching the house, detectives found phones that had been broken in half, and iPads that were factory reset, baggies that had been ripped open and were wet and fentanyl pills at the bottom of the toilet, according to court documents.

Milan may have two failure to appear warrants out of Georgia, one of which has a note that he was violent tendencies and is known to abuse drugs, according to court documents. He also has a conviction for the unlawful transport of firearms in Georgia and the following charges with unknown dispositions, according to court documents, felony controlled substance/possession with intent; felony robbery; felony probation violation and felony homicide.

From Michigan, he has felony convictions for controlled substance or possession; assault with a dangerous weapon; firearms enhancement and home invasion, according to court documents.

In the documents filed Aug. 7, prosecutors said that Litsey and Smith were arrested on Aug. 2 after a brief car pursuit and failed attempt at a vehicle takedown with the GFPD’s high risk unit.

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The takedown was attempted after watching Litsey and Smith conduct multiple hand-to-hand drug transactions, according to court documents.

Litsey and Smith “are just two of many who are part of a large scale investigation that has been ongoing throughout 2023,” according to charging documents.

Litsey and Smith were in a rented white Toyota Tacoma on Aug. 2 when they were arrested and law enforcement searched the vehicle, but found no drugs. Litsey was driving and Smith was the passenger, according to court documents.

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Law enforcement officers believed the pair had tossed drugs out of the truck window during the car pursuit.

Around 5 p.m. Aug. 3, an resident in the 1400 block of 7th Avenue North called to report that she had found three baggies of pills on the sidewalk in front of her house, which was along Litsey and Smith’s route during the Aug. 2 car chase.

The baggies were collected and weighed by the Russell Country Drug Task Force. The baggies were an aggregate weight of 35.1 grams of fentanyl pills, according to changing documents. Another three baggies were found during the investigation with methamphetamine in them for an aggregate weight of 9.4 grams.

During a search of the residence where Litsey, Smith and an accomplice were staying, law enforcement found several baggies tied in the same way as those found along Litsey and Smith’s escape route, according to charging documents.

Prosecutors requested bond be set for $25,000 concurrent to the $375,000 bonds already set related to other charges in the case.