Missoula Drug Bust: 1,146 Fentanyl Pills, $4,883, 8 Firearms, and More
Missoula, MT (KGVO-AM News) - On January 24, 2023, law enforcement officers with the Missoula Drug Task Force (MDTF) executed multiple search warrants related to an investigation of the distribution of fentanyl pills in Missoula County.
During the month of January, the MDTF received information that two individuals, Gweynn Brown and Kendall Riel, were involved in the distribution of fentanyl pills in Missoula.
According to court documents, a Confidential Informant (CI) provided information that Brown and Riel often rent motel rooms and AirBnBs, despite having a residence in Missoula. The CI stated this is for the purpose of conducting their drug distribution activities and that the CI had purchased fentanyl pills from Brown and Riel while they occupied motel rooms. The CI also said Riel and Brown were currently staying at the Holiday Inn Express.
Missoula Drug Task Force Executes a Search Warrant
On January 24, 2023, members of the MDTF responded to the room at the Holiday Inn. After several knocks and announcing they had a search warrant, a female from within the room responded verbally, but did not open the door. Officers ultimately utilized a keycard that had been provided by the hotel to enter the room. Within the room, law enforcement identified four occupants, Gweynn Brown, Kali Hanson, Kendall Riel, and another individual.
Inside the room, officers found several fentanyl pills, meth, firearms, and a large amount of cash. Later that same day, law enforcement officers executed the search warrant for the apartment rented by Riel and Brown. Within the apartment, officers located several items believed to be used for the distribution of dangerous drugs and more firearms.
In total, the searches of the locations and vehicles involved in this investigation yielded approximately $4,883 in US currency, 8 firearms, approximately 1,146 fentanyl pills, various amounts of methamphetamine, and small amounts of heroin and cocaine.
That is a Lot of Money and a Lot of Pills
Court documents indicate the current local prices for a single “M30” fentanyl pill can be between $6 and $25, but on average the cost will be approximately $15 per fentanyl pill. Riel and Brown were found to be in possession of approximately 1146 pills, which at the average cost of $15 per pill, would be valued at approximately $17,190.
According to a Missoula Task Force Officer, when buying large quantities of “M30” pills from an out-of-state source of supply, the cost can be between $1 and $3 per pill, on average. With the amount of cash located within the room at the Holiday Inn, if Brown and Riel were to pay an average of $2 per pill, this would allow them to acquire over 9,700 pills which they could then distribute within Missoula County and the surrounding areas.
Three are Officially Charged
Brown and Riel are both currently being charged with felony criminal distribution of dangerous drugs, felony criminal possession with intent to distribute, and two counts of felony unlawful use or possession of property subject to criminal forfeiture.
Riel is also being charged with two counts of felony criminal possession of dangerous drugs and criminal possession of drug paraphernalia.
Hanson is currently being charged with one count of felony criminal possession of dangerous drugs.
On January 26, 2023, Brown and Riel made their initial appearances in Missoula Justice Court and their bonds were both set at $250,000.
The information in this article was obtained from sources that are publicly viewable.