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A Billings couple is facing federal drug charges after law enforcement found about two pounds of meth in their home.

Agents investigating the case also had learned that the husband, Raymond Thomas Tetzlaff, 34, was armed with several pistols and was “prepared for a gun fight with law enforcement,” said court records filed in the case.

When law enforcement officers arrested Tetzlaff last Thursday as he left his residence at 1226 Yale Ave., they found he was carrying two firearms.

Tetzlaff and his wife, Crystal Busby-Tetzlaff, 35, also arrested on Feb. 9, appeared in court Monday before U.S. Magistrate Judge Timothy Cavan. A criminal complaint charges the couple with possessing meth with intent to distribute, a crime that carries a minimum mandatory 10 years to life in prison and a $10 million fine.

The pair waived their right to a preliminary hearing, and the case will be presented to a grand jury for indictment. Cavan ordered them held in custody pending a detention hearing request.

The Tetzlaffs are suspected of supplying meth for distribution to at least one other person, Sean Patrick Gilmore, 46, of Billings, who was arrested last week and is facing federal charges of being a felon in possession of a firearm.

An agent with the Eastern Montana High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area task force said in court records that officers seized meth from Gilmore on Feb. 7 and suspected that Raymond Tetzlaff might be his supplier.

The next day, agents got information that Tetzlaff “was in fact” Gilmore’s source for meth and that Tetzlaff had several pounds of the drug at his house at 1226 Yale Ave.

In addition, agents learned Tetzlaff was armed, prepared for a gunfight and was preparing to remove all drug and gun evidence from his home and associated shop outside of Billings, court records said.

On Feb. 9, agents surveilled Tetzlaff’s house and detained him when he left at about 4:20 p.m. People inside the house, including Crystal Busby-Tetzlaff, saw officers and shut the door.

Agents, however, entered and removed everyone to prevent evidence from being destroyed.

After getting a warrant, agents searched the residence and vehicles and seized nearly two pounds of meth from inside the house and about four ounces of meth from a bag Tetzlaff was carrying when he left the house.

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In addition, agents also found digital scales, numerous plastic baggies and drug ledgers.

Both Tetzlaff and Busby-Tetzlaff have a previous federal drug felony convictions.

Gilmore also has a prior federal felony drug conviction, court records said.

Days before the search of the Tetzlaff residence, the investigation led to a Feb. 7 search of a building at 1270 Lockwood Road where Gilmore worked and was suspected of distributing meth from the shop, court records said.

Agents executing a search warrant found almost 5 grams of meth, more than $2,600 cash, paraphernalia, a digital scale, dozens of meth pipes, prescription medications and two firearms, a 9 mm semi-automatic pistol with a loaded magazine and an unloaded 12-gauge slide action shotgun.

Gilmore told an agents after waiving his rights that there were user amounts of meth in the shop and no other drugs or guns in the shop. He claimed he worked as a mechanic in the shop.

During a Feb. 10 appearance before Cavan, Gilmore waived a preliminary hearing and his case also will go to a grand jury for an indictment. Gilmore remains in custody. The crime of being a felon in possession of a firearm carries a maximum 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

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Federal Court, Yellowtone County Reporter

Federal court and county reporter for The Billings Gazette.