A Benewah County deputy arrested an aspiring drug seller in St. Maries July 30 after stopping to check his welfare.

According to police reports, suspect Jonathan Signer was found in possession of a number of controlled substances, which he intended to sell in Idaho after transporting them across state lines.

Reports said Deputy Brandon Vannatter was on patrol at 1:06 a.m. July 30, returning to St. Maries along State 3. As he approached the four-way stop at the intersection of State 3 and College Avenue, however, he saw something strange: a blue vehicle was stopped partially in the intersection. Turning on safety indicator lights, the deputy stopped to perform a welfare check.

The driver, who identified himself as Jonathan Signer in his vehicle information and driver’s license, said he was not from the area and had gotten lost while looking for Calder. He had stopped at the four-way to use his cell phone to find the correct route.

Deputy Vannatter, however, noted that the man was shaking and nervous. He asked if the driver had used drugs or alcohol, or had any in his vehicle. Signer said he hadn’t used any, but may have had an old marijuana pipe in the car somewhere.

The deputy asked permission to search the vehicle, which Signer denied. Curious, the deputy ran Signer’s information to search for active warrants, and requested Deputy Dustin Pulley come to the scene with his K9 unit to sniff for drugs.

Records on Signer showed no warrants; however, K9 unit Raff signaled positive for the presence of drugs in the vehicle. With probable cause established, the deputies had Signer leave the vehicle and placed him in restraints as they searched the vehicle.

“I found a marijuana pipe in a gold back pack in the front passenger seat, along with a black glasses case containing a clear baggie with a white powder substance, a clear baggie with a blue pill, several used syringes and a blue rubber tourniquet.”

In addition, Deputy Pulley located a cooler in the back of the vehicle, which contained marijuana edibles and two jars of psychedelic Psilocybin mushrooms.

The white powder substance was believed to be cocaine, and has since been sent to a state lab for testing. The pill was also sent for testing, but text messages on Signer’s phone – retrieved with written consent from the suspect – suggested it to be the hallucinogenic drug MDMA, commonly known as Ecstasy. The messages also indicated he had acquired the substances in California, driving through Washington in order to sell the drugs in Idaho.

Signer was arrested and taken to the Benewah County Jail. He has pleaded not guilty, and a bail in his case was set at $50,000.

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