Half million dollars of meth in Fishtail
A Fishtail man is being held without bail after federal authorities allegedly recovered more than six pounds of methamphetamine late last week.
Merrill Clark Gardner, 61, is being held in the Yellowstone County Detention Facility without bail for federal authorities on a charge of possession of methamphetamine with the intent to distribute.
Street value of the drugs is estimated at $566,250.
According to a criminal complaint filed late last week in United States District Court by Special DEA Agent Robert M. Grayson, investigators directed a confidential source to meet Gardner at his Fishtail home to “discuss the distribution of methamphetamine” on June 17.
As investigators watched, Gardner left his residence and returned approximately 30 minutes later with 1 ¼ pound of methamphetamine wrapped in gray duct tape with saw dust around the outside of the tape, according to the complaint.
The confidential informant then took the methamphetamine to investigators, where a field test “yielded positive results” for the presence of methamphetamine.
The following day, June 18, investigators executed a search warrant at Gardner’s home. Another 1 ¼ pounds of methamphetamine wrapped in gray duct tape was allegedly found in Gardner’s truck when he arrived at home as the search was being conducted, according to the complaint. A field test was positive for the presence of methamphetamine.
Another Stillwater County man who was with Gardner at the time of the search told investigators he had driven Gardner to a location in Nye prior to arriving at Gardner’s home on June 18, according to the compliant.
Investigators conducted a consent search at the Nye property were they found three more packages wrapped in gray duct tape and in a large garbage can with saw dust, according to the complaint. Each one of those three packages allegedly contained 1 ¼ pound of what field tested positive for methamphetamine. The owner of the Nye property told investigators he had allowed Gardner to store methamphetamine on his property for at least five years and had been paid by Gardner to do so between $100 and $200 per month, according to the complaint. That brings to a total 6.25 pounds of meth recovered by authorities.
Gardner made an initial appearance on the charge last Friday, June 18. He is being represented by David A. Merchant II of the Office of Federal Defenders of Montana.