Florida man charged with state’s biggest meth haul denies charges, loses bid for pretrial release

Thursday, March 19, 2020
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YCDF photo  — Nicolas Imhoff

A Florida man allegedly caught with 78 pounds of methamphetamine in a traffic stop on 1-90 in Stillwater County last month has denied two federal drug charges.

Nicholas James Imhoff, 29, appeared in federal district court on Monday, March 16, and pleaded not guilty to one count of conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute methamphetamine and one count of possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine.

Imhoff also lost a bid to be released from custody so that he could enter a treatment facility in Illinois. Following testimony from family members and at least one letter from the facility, federal Magistrate Judge Timothy J. Cavan denied the motion, according to a docket entry on the case in PACER (Public Access to Court Electronic Records).

Billings attorney Lance Lundvall is defending Imhoff in the case.

It is believed to the largest meth seizure ever made in Montana on a traffic stop.

THE CASE

The case unfolded when Imhoff was stopped for driving 86 mph in an 80 mph zone on 1-90 on Feb. 11.

The traffic stop was initiated by a Montana Highway Patrol criminal interdiction trooper at 10:26 a.m. at mile marker 392, according to a criminal complaint filed in federal court by Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) Agent Robert Grayson.

The van Imhoff was driving had been rented for five days from Las Vegas, Nev. Imhoff told the trooper he was travelling to work in North Dakota.

The trooper noted that there was a small suitcase in the van, as well as food wrappers, a carton of cigarettes and bottles of water on the floor. When asked if he had any oilfield clothing, Imhoff told the trooper that his work clothing was at his house in North Dakota, according the court document.

The trooper asked Imhoff to come back to his patrol vehicle and saw that Imhoff was shaking and growing increasingly nervous.

When asked, Imhoff was unable to provide the address of the house he stayed at in North Dakota and also could not remember the zip code.

Imhoff denied the trooper’s request for permission to search the vehicle. A MHP K9 was brought in and indicated a positive alert for the presence of illegal drugs in the van, according to court documents.

At that point, the trooper seized the vehicle and had it towed to an impound lot in Columbus. A search warrant was obtained and found in the van was approximately 78 pound of methamphetamine located in the second seat area in the under-floor storage compartments.

The meth was contained in vacuum-sealed plastic bags and wrapped in duct tape.

The meth was then transported to the DEA office in Billings and given to Agent Grayson. Imhoff was taken to the DEA office in Billings, where he requested an attorney.

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