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Stahl sentenced on distribution charge

| November 12, 2021 7:00 AM

A woman who arrived in Libby with methamphetamine to sell this summer earned a partially suspended sentence in Lincoln County District Court last week.

Patricia Stahl, 35, received a seven-year sentence — four years suspended — with the state Department of Corrections on Nov. 8. She was ordered to forfeit a vehicle and any money she secured in exchange for drugs during her time in Libby. Stahl received credit for 79 days served behind bars.

Prosecutors initially brought Stahl up on a charge of criminal possession of dangerous drugs with intent to distribute as well as two counts of use or possession of property subject to criminal forfeiture. She pleaded guilty to the former charge after striking a deal in early October.

Stahl and an alleged accomplice sold methamphetamine in Libby in August, according to court documents. The two came to the attention of local law enforcement by way of a criminal informant, court documents said.

Detectives Dan Holskey and Brandon Holzer of the Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office approved control buys of methamphetamine from the duo at a local motel. They sought — and received — a search warrant after the informant returned with several grams of a substance that tested presumptively positive for the stimulant.

Authorities arrested Stahl and her accomplice shortly thereafter. A subsequent search of the room turned up drug paraphernalia, including pipes and syringes, cash, vehicle titles, heroin and methamphetamine, court documents said.

In an interview with law enforcement, Stahl admitted to trading a portion of the methamphetamine the duo brought from out-of-state to a local man in exchange for a vehicle.

As part of the plea deal, prosecutors dropped the twin use or possession of property subject to criminal forfeiture charges.

District Judge Matthew Cuffe described the plea agreement as appropriate and the sentence as consistent with Montana law.