Monday, June 24, 2024

Eureka man sentenced on drug possession charge

The Western News | June 7, 2024 7:00 AM

A Eureka man was sentenced Monday in Lincoln County District Court on a drug possession charge.

Robert Chad Pearson, 54, initially faced several charges, including felony possession with the intent to distribute, use or possession of property subject to criminal forfeiture, two counts of criminal possession of dangerous drugs and one misdemeanor count of possession of drug paraphernalia after a traffic stop on Nov. 21 in Eureka.

Pearson pleaded not guilty to all charges on Dec. 11 in Lincoln County District Court before pleading guilty March 25 to one felony count. He was in the county jail before being granted a release on Dec. 15 on his own recognizance.

Pearson got a 3-year deferred sentence and received 31 days credit for time served in the county jail. He did not have to pay fines or costs, but $1,400 that was in his possession at the time of his arrest was forfeited to the county's drug forfeiture fund.

Pearson, through his attorney Sean D. Hinchey, objected to having a DNA sample taken. District Judge Matt Cuffe told the defendant the stipulation is required by state law.

According to the probable cause statement by county Deputy Clint Heintz, he was on patrol when he saw Pearson loading groceries into a white Cadillac at Watson’s market. Heintz reported that Pearson had an active, no bond warrant for partner or family member assault in Lincoln County Justice Court. Heintz radioed Sgt. Bo Pitman, who was south of Eureka. Heintz followed Pearson, who then turned into Big Sky Exxon.

Heintz told Pearson there was a warrant for his arrest, handcuffed him and searched him. Heintz reported he found a glove inside a left cargo pocket. He asked the defendant if the glove had a meth pipe in it and Pearson allegedly said it did. There was also a black hide-a-key box in the pocket that had a white substance on it. Pearson allegedly admitted there was meth in the key box.

After reading him his rights, Heintz asked Pearson how long he had used meth and he allegedly said, “A while.” When Heintz asked to search the vehicle, Pearson declined, according to the court document. Pearson later allegedly said he had been using meth for about 30 years. The accused said the habit cost him about $20 per day.

The next day, Nov. 22, Heintz got a warrant to search Pearson’s Cadillac Seville. The officer reported finding multiple pieces of paraphernalia, 21.3 grams of a white, crystal substance, a total of 14 $100 bills, and bags containing substances that field tested positive for MDMA/amphetamine and fentanyl.

A conviction for felony drug possession with intent to distribute may result in a 20-year sentence in the Montana State Prison. A conviction for possession of property subject to criminal forfeiture may result in a maximum sentence of 10 years. A conviction for felony drug possession may result in a 5-year sentence. Six months in the county jail is the maximum penalty for possession of drug paraphernalia.