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Authorities identify 2 suspect arrested after overnight search in Sweet Grass County

Posted at 11:29 AM, Feb 21, 2017
and last updated 2017-02-21 12:29:13-05

The two men arrested Monday in Big Timber after allegedly assaulting an officer while trafficking drugs on Interstate 90 were identified Tuesday as Ronald Andrew Smith, 36 years old, and Jairo Sebastian Veladiaz, 32.

The suspects are are being held at the Sweet Grass County jail.

The men were arrested Monday following a day-long manhunt in the Main Boulder area near Big Timber.

A Montana Highway Patrol trooper attempted to stop a Suburban on I-90 near Livingston on Sunday night on suspicion of drugs, according to Sweet Grass County Sheriff Dan Tronrud.

At the time of the stop, Smith and Veladiaz allegedly assaulted the trooper and drove off, and allegedly threw large bags containing drugs out the vehicle’s windows.

Authorities believe the bags contained about five pounds of methamphetamine, but the substances must be tested for confirmation.

Sheriff’s deputies, along with MHP troopers, began chasing the vehicle.

The men ditched the Suburban near the DeHart exit and ran away.

Authorities utilized a helicopter, search dogs, and ATVs to find the suspects in the hills.

Smith and Veladiaz were apprehended at around 4 p.m. on Monday and taken to the hospital for an exam before they were booked at the jail.

According to Tronrud, Veladiaz is in the U.S. illegally and has been deported once before.

Both men have lengthy criminal histories in California.

It’s not yet known what charges the men will face, and whether the charges will be filed in federal or state district court.

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