Missoula, MT (KGVO-AM News) - On April 13, 2024, a Missoula County Sheriff’s Office Corporal was patrolling near Orange and Spruce St. when he observed a vehicle turn in front of him. The corporal ran the license plate and found it returned expired. The corporal conducted a traffic stop as the vehicle pulled into a gas station.  

Upon contact, the corporal found the vehicle was occupied by a driver and a passenger, 35-year-old Tara Christiansen. The corporal learned that Christiansen had a non-extraditable warrant from Washington for escape. The corporal further found her to have a local arrestable warrant for DUI, as well as an appearance warrant for assault with bodily fluid.  

The corporal stepped over to Christiansen’s side of the vehicle and asked her to step out. He observed that Christiansen had left a phone, blue teal wallet, and purse that were in her immediate control inside the vehicle. 

The corporal informed Christiansen that she was under arrest. The corporal asked Christiansen if she wanted any of her property from the vehicle. Christiansen stated she wanted the wallet and denied ownership of the purse. The driver also denied ownership of the purse and requested that officers take it with Christiansen, as it was her purse. Based on the driver’s statement, the location of the purse, and it being a feminine bag, the officers took the purse to jail with Christiansen as it was in her constructive possession. 

Once at the jail, staff inventoried the purse and located numerous items, including a glass vial that was later counted to contain 59 fentanyl pills. They also found a silicone container that contained a large crystalline rock. Based on the corporal’s training and experience, he recognized the substance as methamphetamine and that dealers typically keep larger meth rocks on their person for it to be broken down and sold later. Additionally, a meth pipe, a rod, a cleaning tool, and a carrying bag were located inside the purse. 

READ MORE: Missoula News – Crime Reports 

Based on all the above circumstances, the corporal believed Christiansen possessed the fentanyl pills and the suspected methamphetamine for drug distribution. The corporal did a NIK test on the suspected methamphetamine, and it tested presumptive positive. 

Christiansen is currently being charged with two counts of felony criminal possession with intent to distribute, felony unlawful use/possession of property subject to criminal forfeiture, and criminal possession of drug paraphernalia. 

The information in this article was obtained from sources that are publicly viewable.  

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