(MISSOULA)- Two men accused of attempting to smuggle more than 1-million dollars in ecstasy and cocaine through a remote valley in Northwest Montana are free pending their trial in federal court later this year. Meanwhile, a third man remains in custody.
Matthew Desmond Browne and Preston Frederick Lahmer are part of a trio caught last month attempting to get the drugs across the Canadian border in the northernmost reaches of the Yaak Valley…
Federal prosecutors say Browne was caught speeding in Libby on June 8th. Lincoln County Sheriff's deputies say Browne began acting nervous and claimed to be a British Columbia resident on vacation, although he couldn't explain any stops on his trip.
When the Border Patrol was called to search Browne's car with a K-9, prosecutors say they found dozens of vacuum-sealed bags of cocaine in a false truck bed, with an estimated street value of $1.3 million dollars.
Browne told officers he was involved in a scheme to smuggle the drugs from California in backpacks across the border. The next morning, they went to Browne's rendezvous point on the upper Yaak Valley Road, where they found 3-backpacks with 45-pounds of ecstasy powder.
Prosecutors say Lahmer and Kristopher Glenn Pfeifer and Preston Frederick Lahmer attempted to flee but were taken into custody. They told investigators they were Canadians who had been paid $10,000 to sneak the drugs across the border.