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A joint operation of city, county, state and federal law enforcement officers physically checked more than 100 addresses of registered sexual offenders in a two-day operation recently.

Three people were arrested, including one sexual offender who failed to register a physical address as required by law. That person also was charged with a probation violation and resisting arrest.

Ravalli County Sheriff Steve Holton said the scale of the operation was the largest in recent memory.

Typically, local law enforcement checks in on a more hit-and-miss basis with registered sexual offenders to ensure their addresses are current. Under the law, the sheriff’s office is required to maintain a database of those addresses.

“It’s difficult to keep up with,” Holton said.

Taking advantage of a federal grant, Holton said his department worked with U.S. Marshals and officers with the Montana Division of Criminal Investigation and Montana Probation and Parole to check 103 addresses. The Hamilton Police Department also participated.

The operation was fully funded by federal dollars.

Two other people were arrested during the sweep, one on drug charges and the other on a warrant from the Montana Highway Patrol.

While operations of this size are challenging to manage, Holton credited his department’s civilian criminal investigator for coordinating the effort. Holton said he was told by state and federal officials that Ravalli County’s operation was the best run in which they'd participated.

Overall, Holton said he pleased with the rate of compliance the team found while checking in with registered sexual offenders in the county.

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Associate Editor

Reporter for The Ravalli Republic.