The Phelps County Sheriff's Department on Tuesday stopped a black Chevrolet Tahoe for a traffic violation on Interstate 44 at 8:35 a.m. that resulted in a suspect fleeing on foot, who has yet to be apprehended.

The Phelps County Sheriff’s Department deputy developed a probable cause to search the vehicle during the course of the contact with the driver and a passenger in the vehicle. Following the search of the vehicle, suspected narcotic consisting of methamphetamine, cocaine, and marijuana were discovered.


During the ongoing investigation, the driver, who was identified as 38-year-old Gabriel Montano from Arizona fled on foot from law enforcement personnel, and the passenger was taken into custody, according to the Phelps County Sheriff’s Department.


Montano is described as a Hispanic male, 5’5, and approximately 180 pounds. Montano was last seen wearing blue jeans, a dark sweatshirt and a multi-colored t-shirt, according to the Phelps County Sheriff’s Department.  Montano has numerous tattoos on his arms, and he was last seen heading north-east from the 100 block of Doolittle Outer Road on the north side of Interstate 44 near Doolittle.  


An extensive search of the area for Montano was conducted by area law enforcement agencies. Montano remains at large at this time.


It is common for people involved with narcotics to be armed.  The Phelps County Sheriff’s Department asks citizens of Phelps County to keep their vehicles and homes secured. Anyone who sees Montano or any person matching his description should contact Rolla Central Communications at (573) 308-1213, or 911.