Hardin woman gets probation for I-90 cocaine case

By 
Marlo Pronovost
Thursday, January 16, 2020
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A Hardin woman will spend the next three years on probation for having cocaine in her vehicle during a traffic stop on I-90 in May 2019.​

Dionte Grant, 23, appeared in 22nd Judicial District Court last week and was given a 3-year deferred sentence for one felony count of criminal possession of dangerous drugs. Under the terms of a plea agreement, a second felony charge of possessing drugs with the intent to distribute and a misdemeanor charge possession of drug paraphernalia were dismissed.

Grant was also fined $500 and ordered to follow 26 court-imposed conditions. If she meets all court conditions successfully, Grant will have the opportunity to clear her record of the felony charge.​

Prior to sentencing being pronounced, Grant apologized and told Judge Matt Wald “It will never happen again.”​

The judge responded by telling Grant that intentions are not always enough when battling things such as drugs, but that he appreciated the steps she had already taken on her own to get hold of the problem.​ That included her already seeking and completing treatment on her own.

Wald said the sentence recognizes the progress Grant has made on her own, the quick manner in which she took responsibility for her actions, rehabilitation and community safety.​

THE CASE​

Grant was stopped in a black SUV by Montana Highway Patrol Trooper Branden Timm for driving 88 mph in an 80 mph zone on Interstate 90 in the westbound lane near Columbus at 4:22 p.m. on May 23, according to court documents.​

Grant told Trooper Timm that she and the two people in the car with her were traveling from Hardin to Bozeman for a friend’s graduation. The trooper wrote Grant a citation for speeding and a warning citation for not having a registration receipt in the vehicle. ​

When he returned to Grant’s SUV to give her the tickets, he could “immediately smell the strong odor of raw marijuana coming from inside the vehicle,” according to court documents.​

The trooper asked Grant about the odor and she said she didn’t know why that odor was in the vehicle and that she had “just gotten” the SUV the day prior. Grant and all the other occupants denied having marijuana, and the trooper noted that Grant was becoming increasingly nervous.​

At that point, the trooper told Grant he was going to seize the vehicle and get a search warrant. Grant and her two passengers got out of the SUV and got into a Columbus police car, to be transported to Columbus. ​

Found in the search was a large gallon-sized plastic bag with duct tape around the opening and marijuana residue inside of it, a smaller but similar bag under the driver seat, two digital scales with marijuana residue on the surface, two glass marijuana pipes, three small bindles of pot and one small bindle of cocaine.

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