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Billings man arrested during massive police search of Heights property

Suspect allegedly involved in placement of explosive devices in area roadways
Posted at 8:44 AM, Oct 12, 2023

BILLINGS - Police said the massive search that blocked off a major roadway Tuesday afternoon resulted in the arrest of a man suspected of placing explosive devices in the Billings area.

Police Lt. Matt Lennick said in a press release issued Wednesday that the incident began shortly before 2 p.m. when officers "activated an operation to locate and arrest a suspect involved in the placement of explosive devices on the roadways in and around the Billings area over the past several months, and then to execute a search warrant of the suspect's property."

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The suspect, identified as 57-year-old James Coleman, was located and detained by officers near the intersection of Main Street and Highway 312, Lennick said.

"Billings Police SWAT, Yellowstone County Sheriff’s Office TRT, Billings Police Bomb Squad, Billings Police Department Hostage Negotiators, Billings Police Drone team, and Billings Fire Drone team all coordinated and responded to the area of the residence to execute a search warrant on the property," Lennick said in the press release. "At this time Highway 312 was closed to thru traffic from Main Street to Independent Lane for the safety of the public and to allow the responding teams room to perform their duties."

While serving the search warrant on the property, four adults were located and detained. Billings police SWAT and Yellowstone County TRT finished the sweep of the property at approximately 6:20 p.m. and the scene was turned over to the Billings Police Bomb Squad and the investigations unit. Highway 312 remained closed until the teams could render the property safe to the public, and the area was reopened to traffic at about 10:10 p.m.

Coleman has been booked into the Yellowstone County Detention Facility on possible charges of felony criminal endangerment, possession of explosives, and possession of dangerous drugs. He has yet to appear in court.

RELATED: Billings police close part of Highway 312 for investigation involving bomb squad