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The U.S. Marshal’s Montana Violent Offender Task force arrested 1,479 offenders statewide during 2017, which is up slightly from the previous year.

U.S. deputy marshals, working statewide with state, local and tribal law enforcement agencies, arrested the offenders on outstanding warrants. About 80 percent of the warrants were state or local warrants, while 70 percent of the arrests had some connection with meth or opiates, said Acting Marshal Rod Ostermiller.

In addition, about 60 percent of the arrests involved cases of parole violations.

In 2016, the task force arrested 1,440 offenders.

A breakdown of the 2017 arrests by division showed there were 571 arrests in Billings, 415 in Great Falls, 478 in Missoula and 15 in Helena.

In addition to arresting offenders, task force officers also seized weapons, drugs and miscellaneous items.

Ostermiller said 23 handguns, including four long guns and two knuckle weapons were seized along with 56 rounds of ammunition.

The drugs seized included 12 pounds of marijuana, about 13 pounds of meth, 10 ounces of heroin, almost four ounces of cocaine and 796 pills.

Task force officers also recovered five stolen vehicles and seized $92,410 in currency.

The task force started in 2005 and has closed a total of 11,564 cases.

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