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Man arrested on drug trafficking charges

by LAUREN REICHENBACH
Staff Writer | August 10, 2023 1:00 AM

A Sandpoint man was arrested last week on charges of drug trafficking as well as giving false information to an officer after the vehicle he was riding in was pulled over for expired tabs.

A Sandpoint Police officer was doing a routine patrol on Division Avenue when he noticed a vehicle driving with expired tabs. According to court records, when the officer pulled the vehicle over, they noticed the passenger making weird movements, seeming like they were gathering things together. The officer assumed the passenger might make a run for it, court records said. The passenger got out and allegedly began walking away on foot with a backpack.

“I approached him and commanded him to return to the vehicle, which he argued, claiming he was the passenger and was not required to,” the officer wrote in the probable cause affidavit.

Eventually, the passenger — later identified as 34-year-old Nathan Dodge — complied and returned to the vehicle. When asked for his name, the passenger allegedly gave a name that the officer assumed was not his real name, court records said. The officer ran the name, which came back to Dodge’s brother. When his real name was run, it was confirmed that Dodge had an active warrant for his arrest.

Dodge was placed in handcuffs and his person and backpack were searched. On his person, officers found a large bag of white crystal substance that field tested positive for methamphetamine.

“A search of Nathan’s backpack revealed a significantly larger amount of methamphetamine and drug trafficking items including a scale, approximately 28 suspected fentanyl pills, several baggies, $543.25 and paraphernalia,” an officer wrote in the probable cause affidavit.

In total, officers confiscated 158 grams — or 5.5 ounces — of methamphetamine and 28 suspected fentanyl pills from Dodge’s person and backpack.

Dodge was arrested on charges of trafficking drugs, possession of paraphernalia with intent to use, providing false information to an officer and possession of a controlled substance. His bail was set at $100,000 and he has a preliminary hearing date of Aug. 16.

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