Illegal busted on felony cocaine, heroin charges

Marlo Pronovost
Thursday, September 27, 2018
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Yellowstone County Detention Facility 

Marcos Duarte


A man who prosecutors say is in the country illegally appeared in district court last week on felony drug charges.

Marcos Duarte, 43, appeared in jail clothing and handcuffs before 22nd Judicial District Court Judge Blair Jones and pleaded not guilty to two felony counts of criminal possession of dangerous drugs and one misdemeanor count of possession of drug paraphernalia.

Stillwater County Attorney Nancy Rohde said authorities are uncertain if that is his real name and that when federal immigration agents took his fingerprints at the Yellowstone County Detention Facility (YCDF), the prints “came back to three people.”

Defense attorney Greg Paskell did not request any bail.

Jones held the $50,000 bond in place and ordered that should Duarte post that, he must be fitted with a GPS monitoring unit before he can leave the jail. Rohde told Jones that there is currently a federal hold on Duarte due to his immigration status.

According to court documents, Columbus Police Officer Aaron Uecker was working traffic near the Columbus Town Pump on Sept. 12 when he saw a car with a Delaware license plate fail to use a signal. Uecker also noticed the rear left turn signal was broken.

When the officer asked Duarte for his driver’s license, registration and proof of insurance, Duarte allegedly said he did not have a license or an identification card because “he was in the United States illegally,” according to court documents.

Law enforcement also could not find any record of the name and birthdate that Duarte provided.

Uecker then asked Duarte where he was coming from and where he was headed to, to which Duarte said he was on his way to Belgrade from Delaware for a job, according to court documents.

Columbus Police Officer Jason Ferguson responded to the call to provide back-up and when he approached the passenger side of Duarte’s car, he saw several white paper bindles covered with a white, powdery substance in the passenger door, according to court documents.

At that point, Stillwater County Sheriff’s Deputy Cactus Anderson and his K9 were called to the scene, as he is a drug recognition expert (DRE).

Duarte consented to a search and discovered in the car was a total of 7.8 grams of cocaine, as well as heroin and Narcan, according to court documents.

Deputy Anderson then contacted Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to advise that agency of the arrest. The following day, an ICE agent went to the YCDF and fingerprinted Duarte in an attempt to determine his identification.

The results of that fingerprinting confirmed that Duarte has “four alias names with a drug conviction on at least one name,” according to court documents.