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Butte neighbors react to drug raid at blighted Main Street residence

Posted at 7:37 PM, Mar 27, 2024

BUTTE — A drug bust was recently conducted in a Butte neighborhood in the 700 block of Main Street involving local police as well as state and federal agents. This neighborhood has been a source of complaints of urban blight and illegal drug use for years.

“You have to keep all your vehicles locked, you have to watch your stuff that’s in the backyard. People that don’t, everything gets stolen,” said Main Street resident Kayla Ortez.

A Butte man was arrested and faces federal drug charges after a raid by the Southwest Montana Drug Task Force and agents with Montana's Division of Criminal Investigation and Homeland Security. Agents used an armored vehicle and concussion grenades to make the arrest.

“Which they did create a loud bang and some bright flashes, and we did use the P.A. system on our armored vehicle to call the individual out,” said Butte Sheriff Ed Lester.

The man surrendered without incident and investigators confirm there is no threat to the public. However, some neighbors say the neighborhood has been plagued with drugs and crime for years.

“It brings more junk vehicles, it brings more crime. I mean, how much can our little neighborhood take with people stealing from us out of garages? My life has been threatened,” said Iron Street resident Trudy Healy.

Ortez added, “I have called the police for over a year and a half. Nothing gets done.”

Sheriff Lester said this recent arrest resulted after a long investigation and they do act on tips from the public.

“I do understand the frustration from the folks in the neighborhood, but they do have to understand that we have the Constitution to work with, and when we get actionable intelligence and enough to get a warrant, that’s when take action and make arrests,” he said.

Healy makes it a point to report any suspected illegal activity to police in order to keep her neighborhood safe.

“People are afraid, I’m afraid, but to do nothing invites them to do more and we have to do something as citizens,” she said.

Police have not identified the man arrested in the raid as of Wednesday afternoon.