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A federal task force collared five fugitives in the Billings area Wednesday, including a man who walked away from a local pre-release center five days ago.

Officers with the U.S. Marshals Service Montana Violent Offender Task Force arrested George Highelk, 26, at 42 Florine Lane at about 10 a.m., said Rod Ostermiller, chief deputy. Highelk left Alpha House at about 4:30 pm. Friday.

Highelk was sentenced in Missoula County last year for accountability to assault with a weapon. He arrived at the pre-release center in August.

Tips led officers to Highelk, Ostermiller said.

The task force also nabbed four other fugitives Wednesday, "the result of excellent work by talented people assigned to our task force," said Marshal Dwight MacKay.

The five arrests Wednesday were the result of separate investigations.

The task force is on pace to set a new record for closed cases in one year, MacKay said. Officers have closed more than 500 warrants so far this year and 1,830 warrants since the task force began in January 2005.

Task force members include the Marshals Service, U.S. Attorney's Office, Billings Police Department, Yellowstone County Sheriff's Department, Montana Department of Corrections Probation and Parole Bureau and the U.S. Housing and Urban Development Office of Inspections.

The four other fugitives arrested are:

• Daniel Peltier, 21, on a probation violation for criminal possession of dangerous drugs. He was arrested at his residence at 921 N. 17th St. No. 6 in Billings.

• Paul Burgett, 31, on a probation violation for felony criminal endangerment. He was arrested at 3229 Rosebud Drive No. 9 in Billings.

• Christopher Iverson, 28, on a probation violation for burglary. He was arrested at his residence at 515½ E. Fifth St. in Laurel.

• Maurice Gunn, 38, on a federal probation violation for fraud. He was arrested at his residence at 506 Woodland Ave. in Laurel.

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