POCATELLO — A local man is facing up to life in prison after police say they found him to be in possession of enough methamphetamine and heroin to charge him with two counts of trafficking a controlled substance.
Bradley James O’Brien, 39, of Pocatello, on Monday was charged in Bannock County with trafficking methamphetamine and heroin, both felonies, after police allegedly uncovered over 51 grams of meth and about two grams of heroin in his possession while investigating a report of stolen property, according to police reports the Idaho State Journal obtained this week.
The incident began to unfold at about 5:40 p.m. Saturday when Pocatello police dispatch received a call from a woman residing in the Portneuf Towers apartments on West Day Street in Pocatello who was reporting what she believed to be the current theft of a silver camper shell for a pickup truck from a home on the 1400 block of North Hayes Avenue, police said.
The woman told police that she had observed three men jump the rear fence of the home on North Hayes and quickly load the silver camper trailer over the fence and onto the bed of a red Chevrolet S-10 pickup truck with a missing back window, according to police. The woman said two of the men began walking northwest down a nearby alley and the other man drove the pickup northeast in the direction of Burger King, police said.
At the home on North Hayes, police observed the residence was empty and appeared to be undergoing a renovation. A Pocatello police officer located the red S-10 pickup truck with the missing back window a short time later parked in the Stinker Store gas station parking lot at 3530 Highway 30, police said.
Officers recognized the driver of the truck as O’Brien from a previous interaction and confronted him, police said. O’Brien told police that a man who put a bid out on a roof project for the North Hayes home told him he could take the camper shell. Officers contacted that man, who said he did not give permission to O’Brien to take the camper shell, and only informed him where the shell was located and that the owners “would probably not miss it,” police said.
After identifying who had paid the most recent utility bills for the home on North Hayes, which came back to a limited liability company, officers used the Idaho Secretary of State’s website to track down the owner of the home and the silver camper shell, police said. The owner explained that he did not give anyone permission to take his property, police said.
While Pocatello police officers were determining who owned the home and camper shell, a Bannock County Sheriff’s Office deputy with a drug-sniffing canine responded to the scene, according to police reports. The dog provided police with a positive indication that narcotics were located inside the truck, and a search of the vehicle was performed, police said.
On the front passenger seat of the car, police located a gray zip-up glasses case and contained inside were two plastic baggies, police said. One of the baggies contained a green leafy substance consistent with marijuana and the other contained a white crystalline substance the officer recognized as methamphetamine, said police, adding that the substance would also test positive for meth when officers used a field kit to analyze the substance.
The officer also located a rubber pipe with a marijuana residue inside and a black digital scale with meth residue, police said. Additional meth and heroin were also located on O’Brien’s person, police said.
In total, officers seized 51.45 grams of meth, 2.03 grams of heroin and 5.24 grams of marijuana during their interaction with O’Brien, police said.
O’Brien was subsequently charged with the two felony trafficking of narcotics charges as well as misdemeanor charges for possessing marijuana and paraphernalia, according to court records. Officers then arrested O’Brien and transported him to the Bannock County Jail in Pocatello where he currently remains incarcerated on a $50,000 bond.
The owner of the red S-10 pickup truck responded to the Stinker Store gas station parking lot to retrieve her vehicle, said police, adding that officers followed her back to the North Hayes home where the silver camper shell was returned.
Both the felony trafficking of meth and heroin charges carry mandatory minimum prison sentences of three years each and $10,000 fines. The maximum penalty for both charges is up to life in prison and up to $100,000 in fines.
Each of the misdemeanor charges O’Brien faces for the marijuana and paraphernalia carry maximum penalties of up to one year in jail and a fine of up to $1,000.
O’Brien is due back in court on Nov. 23 for a preliminary hearing in which prosecutors will attempt to prove there is enough evidence against him to send his case to trial.