Woman gets prison term in drug case

By: 
Marlo Pronovost
Wednesday, November 27, 2019
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Montana Department of Corrections photo
          
            Rindi Sue Pocha

A Helena woman was sentenced to 5 years in the Montana Women’s Prison last week after admitting to possessing more than 71 grams of marijuana, methamphetamine and a syringe during a traffic stop in 2018.

Rindi Sue Pocha, 44, appeared already in custody before 22nd Judicial District Judge Matt Wald and pleaded guilty to two felony counts of criminal possession of dangerous drugs and one misdemeanor count of possessing drug paraphernalia.

Before sentence was announced, Pocha told Wald that she needs the structure that prison will give her and that “I’m a great mother. I’m a great daughter.”

The Stillwater County Attorney’s Office and defense attorney Greg Paskell made a joint recommendation of a 5-year prison term, noting that Rindi had been given a 5-year prison term in October in Lewis and Clark County.

Wald obliged, running the sentences concurrent. Wald also said the sentence provides accountability for Pocha’s conduct, rehabilitation and the structure she needs.

Pocha is now a 3-time convicted felon. Her first conviction was a drug crime committed in Lewis & Clark County in 2017, according to the Montana Department of Corrections.

THE CASE

In June 2018, Stillwater County Sheriff’s Deputy Cactus Anderson was called to a Columbus business by employees who reported that a woman with a bat had just been in asking for a ride to the Town Pump, according to court documents.

The deputy went to Town Pump to find the woman (Pocha), and encountered two males who said Pocha was driving a silver car pulling two water ski jets and had stopped them, saying “she had to sell them immediately,” according to court documents.

Around the same time, Deputy Tim Mayo was near Reed Point, working a call involving a DUI and a pickup truck pulling a stolen trailer out of Gallatin County. Pocha had been travelling in tandem with the driver of the stolen vehicle, according to court documents. At that point, Deputy Anderson learned the jet skis were also stolen from Billings.

The driver of the pickup and stolen trailer was handcuffed and taken back to the sheriff’s office for further questioning and Columbus Police Officer Aaron Uecker remained on scene with the truck and stolen trailer, according to court documents.

As the driver was being transported back to the sheriff’s office, Deputy Anderson was told that Pocha had pulled into a rancher’s field near Reed Point and was attempting to unhitch the trailer loaded with the stolen jet skis, according to court documents. When the property owner confronted Pocha, she claimed to have been given permission to temporarily leave the jet skis at that location. The property owner refuted that claim, led Pocha back to I-90 and then called 911, according to court documents.

Shortly after, Pocha showed up at the scene where the truck and stolen trailer were being held and approached officers.

Because Pocha went back to the scene where the truck and stolen trailer were located, Deputy Anderson believed that the vehicle and trailer with the stolen jet skis that Pocha was reportedly driving were most likely nearby.

Deputies began searching for the stolen car and jet skis and came upon a white Jeep parked on the north side of I-90, just across from where the stolen pickup truck and trailer had been. The owner of the Jeep was contacted and was not aware the vehicle was missing, according to court documents.

In the place where the Jeep’s owner said he had parked the vehicle was a 2011 Acura and the stolen jet skis, according to court documents.

When being questioned at the sheriff’s office, Pocha’s answers were deemed as “deceptive and evasive,” according to court documents. She also interrupted the interview several times to ask for food for herself or a small dog she had sitting on her lap.

Found in the Acura were 71 grams of marijuana in a zip lock baggie, multiple needles in a bag — one of which was “loaded” with methamphetamine and a glass smoking pipe, according to court documents.

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