Man Arrested Following Standoff Has Long Criminal History

James Coby Smith was arrested in Hungry Horse on Tuesday

By Justin Franz

The man arrested during a standoff in Hungry Horse on Tuesday is no stranger to local law enforcement.

James Coby Smith, 20, was arrested after he broke into a home on River Drive and barricaded himself inside of it for hours. He is currently being held on multiple felony charges, including burglary, criminal mischief, resisting arrest, assault on a peace officer and violating his parole. He is currently being held in the Flathead County Detention Center.

According to authorities, the Flathead County Sheriff’s Office received information about four stolen snowmobiles at a home on River Drive on Tuesday. Deputies responded to the home and made contact with the owners, which led to the discovery of the snowmobiles. During the investigation, a man who apparently had been hiding in the attic fell out of the ceiling of an outbuilding and fled the scene. Deputies began to chase the man, later identified as Smith.

Smith allegedly tried to break into a neighboring home to hide but could not get in. He ran into another home next door and police set up a perimeter around the building. Due to the presence of weapons inside the home, the SWAT team was called in.

Law enforcement tried to negotiate with Smith for two hours. During the negotiations, Smith made numerous threats to law enforcement and allegedly fired a gun, damaging the interior of the home. Eventually officers fired a can of tear gas into the building. Smith exited the building and was arrested.

According to Sheriff Brian Heino, Smith has an extensive criminal record, although much of it is under seal because he was a juvenile at the time of the crimes. In 2012, according to the Daily Inter Lake, after being arrested for a series of burglaries, Smith, then 12, escaped the Flathead County Juvenile Detention Center by sneaking through a hole in the ceiling of the outdoor recreation area. Once outside, he stole a girl’s bicycle and headed for Evergreen. He was found later that evening.

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