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David Slattery

A Ravalli County Sheriff’s drug sting allegedly turned up about 6 ounces of methamphetamine and resulted in the arrest of 41-year-old David James Slattery in Stevensville.

The sting began Nov. 1, when a confidential informant told Detective Jase Basnaw that a woman was being mailed methamphetamine from California for distribution in the Stevensville and Missoula areas.

The detective contacted a postal inspector, who agreed to assist in the investigation, and said that the woman was living in the 500 block of Mission Street in Stevensville.

On Dec. 4, the inspector told Basnaw the U.S. Postal Service received a package it deemed suspicious, with no return address, no name for delivery of the package, and it was an overnight delivery. A K-9 dog sniffed the package, but didn’t alert for drugs and it was delivered to the address.

The informant advised Basnaw that the woman suspected “someone was ratting on her” and that her drug source instead had driven from California and was staying with the woman.

“Det. Basnaw knew from training and experience that the package was likely a ‘bait’ package to determine if there was an active law enforcement investigation,” Deputy County Attorney Thorin Geist wrote in an affidavit.

On Dec. 23, Basnaw received another call from the postal inspector advising that a second suspicious package had been received that was addressed to the woman and “Dave.” It was sent from a fictitious California address.

This time, a K-9 dog indicated drugs were inside the package. It was sent out for a controlled delivery; meanwhile, Basnaw obtained a search warrant for the residence.

“After the package was delivered, Det. Basnaw and the search warrant team approached the front door and announced themselves. Det. Basnaw heard movement inside the door, and entry was made in order to prevent the destruction of evidence,” Geist wrote. “A male and large agitated pit bull were located inside.”

Along with the 6 ounces of methamphetamine, the officers allegedly found a Springfield XD 9 mm pistol, a rifle of unknown make, a black box containing rifle parts, and a safe with drug packaging materials and a red leather case with marijuana, scales and pipes.

Slattery was taken into custody and charged with felony criminal possession of dangerous drugs with intent to distribute meth. He also was charged with misdemeanor criminal possession of marijuana and of drug paraphernalia.

The affidavit didn’t report on whether the woman was arrested.

Slattery remains in the Ravalli County Detention Center in lieu of a $15,000 bond. His initial appearance is set for Jan. 10.