Plea hearing set in drug trafficking case

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SANDPOINT — A plea hearing is pending for a Rathdrum man accused of trafficking black tar heroin and methamphetamine.

Dana Allen Mark Northern was scheduled to be arraigned on Monday in 1st District Court, although the proceeding was postponed. Chief Public Defender Janet Whitney asked for more time so she could speak with Bonner County Chief Deputy Prosecutor Shane Greenbank, court records show.

Northern was accused of possessing more than 60 grams of meth and 30 grams of heroin during a traffic stop near Oldtown on June 6. Northern was stopped for speeding on U.S. Highway 2.

A passenger in Northern’s vehicle, 24-year-old Miguel Antonio Roque was also charged with drug trafficking.

The sheriff’s deputy who stopped Northern did not require consent to search because Northern is a parolee and subject to searches at any time.

Judge Lori Meulenberg, however, declined to find probable cause for the charges because the ownership of the vehicle and the location where the drugs were found was unclear, according to court documents. Bonner County Chief Deputy Prosecutor Shane Greenbank moved to dismiss the charges with prejudice, which allowed them to be re-filed.

The state obtained probable cause days later to charge Northern, 26, with trafficking meth and heroin. He was further charged with unlawfully possessing a loaded .45-caliber semiautomatic pistol because he has two prior felony drug convictions in Kootenai County, court records show.

Northern is also subject to a sentencing enhancement for being a persistent violator. If convicted of trafficking, the enhancement would add at least five years to the underlying sentence and carries the prospect of lifelong imprisonment as a three-time felon.

Charges against Roque, a 24-year-old Spirit Lake resident, have not re-emerged, although he remains under investigation in the trafficking case, court records indicate.

Keith Kinnaird can be reached by email at kkinnaird@bonnercountydailybee and follow him on Twitter @KeithDailyBee.

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