Fairview man charged in federal undercover drug investigation

2014-01-13T17:16:00Z 2014-01-14T08:28:06Z Fairview man charged in federal undercover drug investigationBy CLAIR JOHNSON cjohnson@billingsgazette.com The Billings Gazette

A Fairview man is facing federal drug charges after an undercover investigation led to his arrest in Richland County last Thursday. A search of his vehicle later turned up two ounces of methamphetamine and a handgun.

Ryan Edward Lee, 31, appeared Monday before U.S. Magistrate Judge Carolyn Ostby in Billings. A criminal complaint charges Lee with possession with intent to distribute 50 grams or more of meth.

Lee waived his right to a preliminary hearing, and the case will be presented to a grand jury for indictment.

An affidavit by Michael T. Zidack, a special agent with the Drug Enforcement Administration, said the DEA and the Montana Division of Criminal Investigation were investigating meth trafficking in the Sidney area in November.

An undercover agent made a series of meth buys from a person whom Lee was suspected of supplying, the agent said.

On Thursday, the undercover agent arranged to buy two ounces of meth. Meanwhile, law enforcement set up surveillance in Fairview in an effort to locate Lee’s vehicle, a blue 1994 Ford Ranger.

The vehicle was stopped. A search turned up two ounces of meth in a tin box that was located behind the driver’s seat and a .380-caliber handgun between the seat and the console.

There were bullets in the gun’s magazine but none in the chamber. Officers also found $2,000 cash on Lee.

A law enforcement background check on Lee showed he has multiple felony convictions for drug distribution and assaults, the agent said.

Copyright 2014 The Billings Gazette. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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