Sunday, March 03, 2024

Northwest Montana couple accused of drug trafficking

The Western News | March 14, 2023 7:00 AM

Two northwest Montana residents are charged with drug trafficking after a traffic stop earlier this winter.

Amber Patterson Martin, 38, of Libby, and Christopher Wayne Martin, 34, of Marion, are each charged with two felony counts of possession of dangerous drugs with the intent to distribute. They are also charged with use or possession of property subject to criminal forfeiture.

Both, who were originally lodged in the Lincoln County Detention Center on $100,000 bond, sought release on their own recognizance through their respective attorneys during their arraignment on the charges on Feb. 13. Amber Martin is represented by Scott B. Johnson and Christopher Martin is represented by S. Charles Sprinkle.

Lincoln County Attorney Marcia Boris didn’t argue against their release, but pointed out the various conditions they must follow once they gained their freedom. Those conditions included finding and keeping a place to live, finding work or continuing education, no possession or weapons, no use of illegal drugs or alcohol as well as being law abiding.

Both are scheduled for a May 1 omnibus hearing in Lincoln County District Court.

According to the probable cause statement by Brandon Holzer of the Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office, Amber Martin was arrested on Jan. 23 coming into Libby on U.S. 2 for driving on a suspended license and driving under the influence of dangerous drugs by Deputy Tony Jenson. The vehicle was seized after a K-9 unit alerted to the odor of narcotics in the vehicle.

At the time of the traffic stop, Christopher Martin was in the back seat of suspected of being under the influence of fentanyl. He was later given a ride to his residence by Deputy John Hyslop.

On Jan. 24, Deputy Dan Holskey wrote a warrant for the vehicle. After a search of it, officers reported finding 27 fentanyl pills, 115 grams of meth and 9.8 ounces of marijuana bud and $2,983. Officers also reported finding hundreds of small distribution bags and scales in the vehicle.

The officers also reported finding ledgers and receipts explaining costs of dangerous drugs and how much they were making coming back home from Tacoma, Washington, including how much they were getting in cash.

According to the probable cause statement, the officers learned Christopher Martin was trying to bond Amber out of jail. Christopher was then taken into custody for possession with intent to distribute dangerous drugs. Amber was also charged and denied bonding out. Their cash was seized and both were given subject to forfeiture citations.

A conviction for possession with the intent to distribute may result in a maximum term of 20 years in the Montana State Prison. A conviction on the criminal forfeiture charge may result in a maximum term of 10 years.