A traffic stop triggered a major drug bust in Benewah County, with more than 1.7 pounds of methamphetamine seized.
The bust, though triggered by a traffic stop, was part of a larger joint investigation with the Coeur d’Alene Tribal Police, Idaho State Police, Quad-City Drug Task Force and Bureau of Indian Affairs Division of Drug Enforcement.
According to police reports, the arrests happened January 8 near Tensed. Deputy Dustin Pulley was on patrol when he noticed a gold sedan he recognized from their ongoing investigation. He also recognized the driver as Denny Baldwin, who was a person of interest in that investigation.
Deputy Pulley called in the vehicle’s information to dispatch, who informed him that Baldwin was also driving with a suspended license. While following, he also saw the suspect cross the highway’s center line. He then moved to make a traffic stop against Baldwin, placing him in handcuffs when he stopped. Also in the vehicle with Baldwin was Alexandra Lynas, also of Tensed.
With both occupants out of the car, Deputy Pulley deployed his K9 partner Raff to search the exterior of the vehicle for signs of narcotics – a search which proved fruitful.
“As K9 Raff reached the front driver door seam at the B-Post, he showed a change of behavior, and demonstrative a passive positive alert at the rear passenger door at the B-Post,” he said.
Inside, the deputy found a baggy filled with white crystalline substance. On further search of the vehicle, he also found another baggy with a black tar-like substance, various drug paraphernalia, and a backpack with more crystal substance and $1,400 in cash. The substances were later found to be 86.3 grams of methamphetamine, 2.5 grams of heroin. Both Lynas and Baldwin were placed under arrest and taken to the Benewah County Jail.
The traffic bust also gave deputies and other agencies a needed probable cause to search Baldwin’s residence, and RV located along Highway 95 within the Coeur d’Alene Reservation. Deputies, officers and agents had been working to secure a warrant on the property as part of their investigation. Following the arrest, the warrant was granted for the RV and the property’s residence.
Three deputies, along with Chief Sam Abrahamson of the Coeur d’Alene Tribal Police and Agent Cody SiJohn of the Bureau of Indian Affairs, executed a search of the trailer and residence the same day. Their efforts were rewarded with a major find.
“Coeur d’Alene Tribal Police located numerous pieces of methamphetamine and heroin inside the residence,” Deputy Pulley said. “After making entry into Baldwin’s RV, two large ziplock bags containing numerous individually packaged bags of crystal substance was located by Deputy Wynn under the sink in a black colored bag.”
The substance was determined to be methamphetamine, with a total packaged weight of 1.7 pounds. Also found in a locked safe in the residence were a number of vehicle titles and antique coins, which investigators suspected were used in drug transactions. The items were taken as evidence.
Baldwin and Lynas were charged with possession of methamphetamine and heroin, both felonies, as well as drug trafficking for the large amount of methamphetamine in their trailer. If found guilty, trafficking in Idaho carries a penalty of a fixed term of three years and a fine of at least $10,000. The cash found with them is now subject to a civil asset forfeiture lawsuit by the Benewah County Prosecutor’s Office.