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Crime Scene

POLSON — An afternoon raid on a suspected drug house in Polson netted meth, heroin and LSD on Wednesday.

Three people were cited and released on charges that ranged from felony distribution of drugs to misdemeanor counts of possession of drug paraphernalia, said Polson Police spokesperson George Simpson.

“Because of the jail crowding issues we have here, they were cited and released,” Simpson said. “We are really limited when we can’t put the bad guys in jail.”

Led by Flathead Tribal Police, with backup provided by members of the Polson Police and Lake County sheriff’s office, the raid is the continuation of an effort to deal a blow to drug dealers operating in Polson.

“Different agencies had information on this house,” Simpson said. “The tribal police received the last bit of information that was needed to execute a search warrant. All the law enforcement agencies in the county are working in partnership to solve this problem.”

Last week, officers raided four homes in Polson in an effort they nicknamed “Operation Blue Christmas.”

Wednesday’s raid netted larger amounts of meth and heroin, as well as LSD.

“It’s pretty rare for us to see LSD,” he said. “We are keeping an eye on that. It appears to be creeping in and that has us concerned. It’s not been very common around here or in Montana.”

Simpson said local law enforcement agencies have seen an uptick in information about people selling drugs in the Polson area following the earlier raids.

He attributes some of that to the presence the Polson Police have on social media sites like Facebook and Instagram.

“We have a huge social media presence in our community,” he said. “We have well over 4,000 followers on Facebook in a jurisdiction of only 5,000. We receive a lot of tips through Messenger … People definitely feel like they can remain anonymous. They don’t have to talk with anyone. They can just type.

“All of the information that we receive still has to be verified,” Simpson said. “That social media presence just makes it easier for us to relate to the community and for the community to relate to us.”

A number of children, including several juveniles in the most recent raid, were removed from the homes by either tribal or state child protective agencies. In most cases, Simpson said those children were placed with other family members.

The Polson Police work closely with the school district in cases similar to these as part of a year-old program called “Handle with Care.” That program allows police officers to notify the school district after a child has been impacted through some type of law enforcement action after school hours.

“We let the school district know through an area on their website what’s going on with the child,” Simpson said. “Through that, we can make the principals, teachers and counselors aware of the child’s situation.

“It’s a great program,” he said. “We’re super proud of it. It’s all about helping these kids. We know they are the future of this community.”

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Northwest Montana Reporter

Northwest Montana reporter at the Missoulian