A series of events that started with a late-night tip from a caller ended with police arresting a man after the safe in his backpack turned out to contain a laundry list of drugs and more than $4,000 in cash.

The defendant in the case, 26-year-old Kristofer Mikal Wright, made an initial court appearance Monday on four felony counts of drug possession with intent to distribute and a single felony count of drug possession. He also faces a misdemeanor count of drug paraphernalia possession.

Judge David Carter set Wright’s bond on that matter at $50,000. Wright also appeared on a Wyoming arrest warrant, for which he is being held without bond. Wright did not waive his right to extradition proceedings, which means a Wyoming governor’s warrant will be needed for him to be returned to that state.

Police were called at about 1 a.m. Friday with a tip about possible drug activity in the 500 block of North 23rd Street near North Park.

Charging documents say police responded and followed two men who left the area in a car. An officer tracked the men, both of whom had backpacks, and later found them sitting in the lobby of a downtown motel.

Police identified one man as Andrew Hughes and the other as Wright, charging documents said. Police determined that Wright is on felony probation in Cody, Wyo.

Hughes gave police permission to search his backpack and the car he had driven to the parking lot of the hotel. No contraband was found, and the affidavit does not indicate he has been charged with crimes.

Keep reading for FREE!
Enjoy more articles by signing up or logging in. No credit card required.

Police contacted Wright’s probation officer, who gave officers permission to search Wright's backpack. Officers reported finding a digital scale with white residue and shoe box-sized safe, court records state.

Wright denied owning the backpack or the safe and said he didn't know the safe's combination. His “denial contradicted the fact that the backpack was under his legs, on the ground, when officers contacted him in the lobby” of the hotel, court records say.

Wright’s probation officer asked police to break open the safe, the records go on to say.

After breaking open the safe, police reported finding 1.74 ounces of suspected meth; .6 grams of suspected black tar heroin; .4 grams of suspected marijuana; 1.6 grams of suspected cocaine; a suspected clonazepam pill; a hypodermic needle; a sealed manila envelope containing four rolls of cash totaling $4,020; a 10-gram weight; and a photo of Wright kissing a woman.

Police also reported finding $1,112 cash in Wright's wallet. 

All the suspected drugs have been sent to the State Crime Lab for analysis. Wright is scheduled to appear in Yellowstone County District Court on Friday to enter pleas on the charges against him.

Get local news delivered to your inbox!

* I understand and agree that registration on or use of this site constitutes agreement to its user agreement and privacy policy.

City news reporter for the Billings Gazette