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Gonzales Provides Not Guilty Pleas To Charges

Raul Hernandez Gonzales of Arizona made not guilty pleas to six charges during district court hearings on Tuesday, Oct. 24.

The felony charges are criminal possession of dangerous drugs (meth) and criminal endangerment. Misdemeanor charges include fleeing from or eluding a peace officer, obstructing a peace officer or other public servant, reckless driving and driving without a valid drivers license.

An omnibus hearing was scheduled for Nov. 15. A trial date was set for Feb. 15, 2024.

According to court documents, a traffic stop took place in Poplar regarding a vehicle with Arizona license plates on Sept. 11. The vehicle with the suspect then took off on a high rate of speed traveling south on Sixth Avenue East in Poplar. BIA and Fort Peck Tribes Department of Law and Justice officers chased the vehicle.

The vehicle was traveling at speeds of more than 70 miles per hour and overtaking other vehicles in an unsafe manner. The vehicle didn’t slow down or yield for any stop signs near Poplar Public Schools.

The pursuit continued west on U.S. Highway 2 between Poplar and Wolf Point. After turning around on a direct road behind McDonald’s restaurant in Wolf Point, the vehicle traveled east on Highway 2 at a high rate of speed driving in the center turn lane. The fleeing suspect vehicle was continuing to drive in and out of the east and west bound lanes of traffic causing vehicles to go into the ditch to avoid collision. The suspect continued to drive east on Highway 2 with speeds in excess of 100 mph. Back in Poplar, the vehicle ended into a dead end street. The driver abandoned the vehicle and fled on foot going toward the Poplar River. He tried to hide in bushes, but officers located the suspect.

Found in the vehicle were 24 bluish/green pills with the number 30 one side with the M boxed 30 on the other side. The pills were believed to be counterfeit oxycodone pills known to be fentanyl. During the arrest, Gonzales had approximately 6.97 grams of meth located inside of his front right pocket of his trunks.

Attorney Rufus Peace requested a reduction of bail from $50,000 to $20,000. He noted that Gonzales is employable and has made arrangements to stay in the area.

Deputy County Attorney Thomas Bleicher argued that Gonzales has a lengthly criminal history and no ties to the area. Bleicher said he was recently informed that the federal government is looking to pick up the case because of the quantity of drugs involved.

District Judge David Cybulski denied the request for a bail reduction.

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