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Maxwell Matana

Maxwell Matana

A 21-year-old Missoula man was arrested on drug and theft charges after a stolen pistol and a variety of illegal drugs were found in a backpack and case following a traffic stop.

Maxwell I. Matana appeared Wednesday before Ravalli County Justice Jennifer Ray on four felony drug charges and two misdemeanor counts, including theft and possession of burglary tools.

The charging affidavit said Mantana was a passenger in a vehicle traveling northbound on U.S. Highway 93 near Florence that was pulled over for speeding at about 10:20 p.m. on Jan. 4.

During the traffic stop, the Montana Highway Patrol officer noticed the smell of marijuana.

The two men in the car denied having any marijuana in the vehicle, but both admitted that they smoked marijuana earlier that afternoon, though later changed their story and said one of their girlfriends had been smoking marijuana in the car earlier, according to the affidavit.

After obtaining consent from the driver to search the vehicle, the trooper asked Matana to identify items that were his. Matana said that a black backpack and a locked black case belonged to him. He told the trooper there three guns in the locked case, but could only describe one. Matana denied the trooper’s request to search the case.

After smelling marijuana on Matana, the affidavit said the trooper asked him if he had any marijuana on him. Matana stated “I don’t think so” before pulling a small bag of marijuana out of his front pocket, according to the affidavit.

The trooper also noticed a white bottle and card in a mesh pouch on the side of the backpack that read “MDMA,” a name for an illegal drug.

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At this point, the Ravalli County Dispatch Center aired a “shots fired” call from Hamilton. All available troopers were requested to respond. The trooper seized the backpack and case pending a search warrant before leaving the scene.

After obtaining a search warrant, the trooper found a loaded Ruger LCP pistol that had been reported stolen from Butte, five bags of marijuana, two bags containing methamphetamine, two cakes of hashish, a bag of psilocybin mushrooms, four brownies suspected to contain THC and a lock pick set, according to the affidavit.

On Jan. 7, the trooper contacted Matana and requested they meet to return the non-contraband items. The trooper met Matana at a gas station in Victor.

Matana came wearing a body camera.

He was arrested for criminal possession of dangerous drugs with the intent to distribute.

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