A traffic stop made by Montana Highway Patrol troopers last week led to more than 630 suspected fentanyl pills seized and criminal charges filed.
Sally Jean Martin, 61, has been charged in Yellowstone County District Court with three counts of drug possession and felony DUI. She is scheduled to be arraigned Thursday.
An MHP trooper on patrol near Billings received a complaint of a possibly impaired driver on Interstate 90 on Dec. 23, court documents said. The SUV was allegedly going east on I-90 near the South 27th Street interchange, weaving in and out of its lane and nearly hitting other vehicles. Another trooper stopped the SUV off the interstate, near Justice Trail and Hangman’s Road, south of the Pryor Creek Golf Club.
Troopers allegedly identified the driver as Martin, who was traveling alone, and appeared to be living out of the SUV. She told troopers varying stories about traveling to see her son in Livingston and in Bozeman, court documents said. She eventually consented to troopers searching the SUV.
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Inside the SUV, troopers allegedly found prescription Xanax, two bags of meth and one bag with 402 blue pills suspected to be fentanyl. Martin was booked into Yellowstone County Detention Facility, where staff seized another bag from her containing 230 more suspected fentanyl pills, according to charging documents.
Yellowstone County prosecutors charged Martin with two counts of drug possession, one count of drug possession with intent to distribute and felony DUI, as she allegedly has at least four other DUI convictions. If found guilty of possession with intent to distribute, Martin could be sentenced up to 20 years in prison.
Agents with the Rocky Mountain High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area program, which includes MHP, seized more than 155,000 dosage units of illicit fentanyl in Montana from the start of 2022 through September. As part of Gov. Greg Gianforte’s budget recommendations for the upcoming State Legislature, the Gazette previously reported, the Montana Department of Justice is requesting funding for five new troopers, and a data analyst for MHP.