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Suspects in Highway 66 pursuit now facing drug charges

Three Klamath Falls men who allegedly led police on an explosive pursuit Friday night on Highway 66 are facing added felony drug charges, court documents indicate.

Oregon State Police say Christopher Sellars, William Noble and Levi Cortez led police on a lengthy pursuit from Klamath Falls, threw an incendiary device at pursuing troopers and called in bomb threats to two Klamath Falls area high schools. Cortez surrendered to police when the Ford SUV finally stopped near milepost 18, but police say Noble and Sellars fled into the woods.

A district attorney's information filed Monday in Jackson County Circuit Court by Chief Deputy District Attorney Jeremy Markiewicz is now charging Sellars, Noble and Cortez with unlawful possession, manufacture and delivery of methamphetamine, in addition to attempted first-degree assault and unlawful manufacture and possession of a destructive device.

"The state further alleges that the above described offense(s) involved substantial quantities of a controlled substance, consisting of 10 grams or more" of meth, the document says. Markiewicz and Oregon State Police were unavailable for comment Tuesday as to whether the alleged drug offenses preceded the pursuit or were uncovered during a search of the vehicle.

Sellars, who was still at large Tuesday, was also charged in absentia with being a felon in possession of a firearm and attempting to elude police.

According to a probable cause affidavit by Trooper Adam Walport, Cortez told police he had been riding in the back seat of the vehicle during the pursuit. According to the affidavit, Cortez said he had handed Noble, who was sitting in the passenger seat, a gas can which Noble threw out the window with burning material. 

Police found a 9mm Kel-Tec pistol in the SUV, and Cortez allegedly told troopers Noble had made comments about shooting police.

Noble surrendered Friday morning at a residence along the highway, but an extensive search of the area by state police SWAT personnel and Jackson County sheriff's deputies failed to turn up Sellars.

Sellars was last known to be in the area of Hyatt Lake and Highway 66. Residents who spot any suspicious persons or circumstances are asked to call 911 or the Oregon State Police Southern Command dispatch center at 541-776-6111.

Reach reporter Thomas Moriarty at 541-776-4471, or by email at tmoriarty@mailtribune.com. Follow him at @ThomasDMoriarty.