Violent Offender Task Force Sees Uptick In Fugitive Arrests
The Montana Violent Offender Task Force reports arresting 1,918 felony fugitives in 2019. MVOTF is organized by the U.S. Marshals Service District of Montana. The group is a collaborative partnership between law enforcement agencies at the federal, state, and local levels. Their work largely involves carrying out arrest warrants.
Since the group’s formation in 2005, they have arrested 15,353 individuals. In 2019, they arrested 774 people in Great Falls, 659 in Billings and 485 in Missoula.
According to U.S. Marshal Rod Ostermiller, about 85 percent of arrest warrants are state and local warrants and many of those arrested are parolees.
There are 23 member law enforcement agencies in the group. Arrest totals have continued to rise during recent years and the task force has continued to add member agencies.
Members of the task force include law enforcement agencies in Roosevelt County and Fort Peck Tribes Department of Law and Justice, as well as the Billings, Bozeman, Cut Bank, Great Falls, Helena police departments; Yellowstone, Gallatin, Stillwater, Sweet Grass, Cascade, Glacier, Hill, Valley, Dawson and Custer counties, the Montana Department of Corrections Probation and Parole, Attorney General’s Office, DEA, Northern Cheyenne BIA, Blackfeet Law Enforcement Services, Chippewa Cree Law Enforcement Services and the U.S. Social Security Administration.
In 2019, 78 grams of cocaine were seized, along with 563 grams of heroin and 20 stolen vehicles.
In 2018, the task force seized 18 grams of cocaine, 488 grams of heroin and 21 stolen cars.
Numbers from 2019 show a 2,000-gram increase in meth seizures. Firearms seizures also increased in 2019, by a total of 80 firearms.
The increase in meth seizures by the task force resembles data from other law enforcement groups. The Billings Gazette reported earlier in January that the Eastern Montana High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area Drug Task Force seized 122 pounds of meth, an increase of 92 pounds from 2014.