By Patrick Winderl/Havre Daily Newsemail@example.com
A Havre couple are accused of selling drugs in the family housing facility at Montana State University-Northern.
Florence Hare, 25 and her common law husband, Brian Lee Big Bow, 26, were each arraigned on four federal drugs charges Tuesday in U.S. District Court in Great Falls.
The charges are: possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine in a public housing area; possession with intent to distribute cocaine in a public housing area; distribution of methamphetamine in a public housing area; and distribution of methamphetamine.
If convicted on all counts, Hare and Big Bow each could be sentenced to up to 180 years in a federal prison and more than $10 million in fines.
The charges stemmed from a Sept. 10 incident in which the FBI and Tri-Agency Task Force raided Hare's residence on campus, according to court documents.
School officials said Big Bow was living with Hare at the ime.
The case against the couple is outlined in a petition for forfeiture filed in state District Court by the task force. The petition sought forfeiture of $3,492 in cash and a 1997 Cadillac.
Judge John Warner approved the request on Dec. 5 after Hare and Big Bow failed to respond to a subpoena.
The cash and vehicle will be used for future drug investigations, the task force said.
According to the petition, agents obtained a search warrant for the residence after a police informant purchased methamphetamine from Big Bow on July 18 and after agents witnessed a suspected drug transaction between Hare and an unknown woman in the parking lot of Northern Montana Hospital on Sept. 9.
Agents also conducted an undercover drug deal on that date, the petition said. A police informant purchased two grams of meth from Big Bow for $150 while under surveillance by the task force and FBI, the court record alleges.
Agents raided the house at 5 p.m. the next day after witnessing a large amount of suspected drug traffic at the residence, the petition said.
During a search of the residence, officers discovered nearly $3,500 in cash, 75 grams of meth, 11 grams of cocaine and 14 grams of marijuana, court records said. Many of the drugs were discovered in a fake hair spray can with a false bottom, and $2,100 in cash was found hidden in the oven, according to court documents.
Officers searched Hare's vehicle, a 1997 Cadillac DeVille, and found a small amount of meth and a bill of sale that indicated Hare purchased the vehicle for $8,500 in cash, according to the petition.
When Big Bow was arrested, he had seven grams of meth and $740 in his possession, the petition said. Big Bow attempted to stash the meth in the back seat of a patrol car, and officers promptly found it, the court record said.
Officers seized the drugs, cash, and the Cadillac, which they suspected was purchased with drug money. In October, the task force filed the request for property forfeiture in state District Court.
A federal grand jury returned an indictment Monday, and the FBI immediately arrested Hare at her residence. Big Bow turned himself in later that day. They are being held without bond in Cascade County.
Hare's housing contract has been terminated, said Bill Lanier, director of housing for the college.
Hare was allowed to remain in the facility with certain conditions following the raid until formal charges were filed, which took several months, he said.
After the raid, Big Bow was banned from the residence because he is not a student, Lanier said.