Pocatello police arrest six people on meth charges

Bert J. Welch, top left, Janelle Ruth Valenzuela, top middle, Travis J. Schmidt, top right, Jordan Dee Barclay, bottom left, Katrice Breanne Gerhardt, bottom middle, and Roberto Andrew Leyvas.

POCATELLO — The Pocatello Police Department arrested six people for felony methamphetamine possession in just over 24 hours, according to police and court records.

Janelle Ruth Valenzuela, 52, of Pocatello, has been charged with felony possession of the controlled substance, meth, and misdemeanor possession of drug paraphernalia following a traffic stop just after midnight on Sunday.

A Pocatello police officer observed a brown sedan traveling north in the 300 block of Jefferson Avenue with one working headlight and initiated a traffic stop, police said.

When the officer asked the driver of the car, Valenzuela, to provide her driver’s license, registration and insurance, he noticed her eyes were dilated and she was acting erratically, handing the officer cards and documents that he did not request, police said.

A K-9 was dispatched to the scene and positively indicated that there were drugs in the vehicle and the officers conducted a search of the car, according to Pocatello police reports.

Officers located a white crystalline substance that tested positive for meth and drug paraphernalia inside the car.

Valenzuela was arrested and booked into the Bannock County Jail in Pocatello.

She appeared in front of 6th District Judge David Hooste for an arraignment hearing Monday, during which she was released from jail to court services.

Bert J. Welch, 32, of Airway Heights, Washington, has been charged with felony possession of a controlled substance, meth, after police found him parked at the newly constructed Idaho Central Credit Union at the corner of South Fifth Avenue and East Benton Street around 4:45 a.m. Sunday.

A Pocatello police officer conducted a field interview on the black passenger car that was running and parked in front of the business, which was closed. The officer made contact with Welch, who was sitting in the driver’s seat, and noted Welch’s eyes were very red and glassy, police said.

When Welch was asked to step out of the vehicle to perform a field sobriety test, the officer observed a syringe in his coat pocket, police said.

Initially, Welch said he picked up the syringe because he doesn’t like to see litter on the ground, but ultimately admitted to using meth with the syringe and possessing a small amount of the drug, police said.

Welch was subsequently arrested and booked into the Bannock County Jail where he remains incarcerated with a $10,000 bond.

Travis J. Schmidt, 30, of Pocatello, has been charged with felony possession of a controlled substance, meth, and misdemeanor charges of possession of drug paraphernalia and resisting and obstructing arrest.

Pocatello police on Sunday received a report from Sportsman’s Warehouse in Pocatello of a man who fled the store after being confronted about a theft, police said.

Shortly after, a resident of the 800 block of Willard Avenue called police to report a man had hopped his fence, ran through his backyard and was hiding behind a dumpster at Comfort Care Dental on East Alameda Road, police said.

An officer responded to the area and could not locate anybody, but found a red jacket, camouflage hat and gray backpack behind the dumpster, which matched the description the Willard Avenue resident provided police.

Inside the backpack, the officer located an identification card belonging to Schmidt and a small amount of meth, police said.

The officer got into contact with a cab driver who had someone request a ride from Comfort Care Dental but could not locate anybody in the area and he provided her with a description of Schmidt, police said.

A while later the cab driver phoned police and said she had Schmidt in her car. The officer responded to the area and arrested Schmidt after a brief foot pursuit, police said.

Schmidt was transported to the Bannock County Jail in Pocatello where he remains incarcerated with a $20,000 bond.

Jordan Dee Barclay, 37, and Katrice Breanne Gerhardt, 31, both of Pocatello, were both arrested shortly after 7 p.m. on Sunday following a traffic stop in which officers located illegal drugs, police said.

An officer observed a driver of a vehicle fail to use a turn signal while changing lanes on Garrett Way in Pocatello and initiated a traffic stop. Inside the car, the driver identified himself as Barclay and a rear passenger, later identified as Gerhardt, initially gave police a false name.

When the officer informed Gerhardt that the person she identified herself as had active warrants in Bannock County, she provided her actual name, police said.

Barclay told police they would find meth and marijuana in the center console, which they did, police said.

Barclay was arrested and charged with felony possession of a controlled substance, and Gerhardt was charged with misdemeanor providing false information to law enforcement and arrested, police said.

A jailer at the Bannock County Jail removed a baggie that contained approximately 25 grams of a white crystalline substance that tested positive for meth from Gerhardt’s genital area before Gerhardt was booked into jail, police said.

Gerhardt was subsequently charged with felony possession of a controlled substance as well, police said.

Barclay and Gerhardt appeared in front of Judge Hooste on Monday, during which their bonds were set at $10,000 and $100,000, respectively.

Roberto Andrew Leyvas, 42, of Pocatello, was charged with felony possession of a controlled substance following a traffic stop on Monday, police said.

A Pocatello police officer observed a white Buick fail to stop at a stop sign and initiated a traffic stop. While speaking to the driver, identified as Leyvas, an officer observed a used syringe in the driver’s side door, police said.

Leyvas was ordered out of the vehicle and searched. Police said they located a small amount of meth in his front right coat pocket. He was arrested and booked into the Bannock County Jail in Pocatello where he remains incarcerated with a $25,000 bond.

Valenzuela, Welch, Schmidt, Barclay, Gerhardt and Leyvas are each scheduled to appear in court again on Jan. 18 for separate preliminary hearings in which prosecutors will attempt to prove there is enough evidence to elevate the cases from the magistrate to district court level for trial.

The maximum penalty for first offense felony drug possession charges if convicted is up to seven years in prison and a fine of up to $15,000.