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California man charged with methamphetamine trafficking after arrest following car, foot pursuit in Great Falls

GREAT FALLS—A California man suspected of trafficking methamphetamine and heroin appeared on charges today after law enforcement officers arrested him following a vehicle and then a foot pursuit, U.S. Attorney Kurt Alme said.

Mitchell Joseph Wright, 40, had an initial appearance on a criminal complaint charging him with possession with intent to distribute controlled substances. If convicted of the most serious crime, Wright faces a minimum mandatory five years to 40 years in prison, a $5 million fine and at least four years of supervised release.

U.S. Magistrate Judge John T. Johnston presided and ordered Wright detained pending further proceedings.

The charging documents are merely accusations, and Wright is presumed innocent until proven guilty.

Court documents filed in the case said that in April, the Russell Country Drug Task Force learned of methamphetamine being shipped from California to Great Falls through the U.S. mail and contacted the U.S. Postal Service. The investigation led to Wright. Law enforcement served a search warrant on a hotel room where Wright was staying and found meth and heroin. On June 23, law enforcement officers attempted to serve an outstanding warrant on Wright when he stopped his vehicle at a gas station in Great Falls. As officers approached, Wright fled in his vehicle. Officers attempted to stop Wright, but he drove at a high rate of speed throughout Great Falls for about 20 minutes. Wright crashed his vehicle, grabbed two backpacks and fled on foot. Officers arrested Wright after he left a business, where he had entered a restroom. Police searched the restroom and found suspected methamphetamine in a plastic bag.

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, Drug Enforcement Administration, U.S. Postal Service, Russell Country Drug Task Force, Cascade County Sheriff’s Office and Great Falls Police Department investigated the case.

Pacer case reference. 20-48.

If the above cases are of interest to your media organization and the community it serves, we encourage you to monitor its progress through the U.S. District Court calendar and the PACER system.

To establish a PACER account, which will allow you to review documents filed in the case, please go to, To access the district court’s calendar, please go to



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