On May 6, 2022, a Missoula Police Department Officer conducted a traffic stop on a vehicle near South 14th St. W. for multiple violations. The officer observed an open can of Twisted Tea and a handheld butane torch in the center console. Police Public Information Officer Lydia Arnold explains.

“Officers stopped a vehicle for several equipment violations,” Arnold said. “Upon contact, officers observed indicators of narcotic use and spoke with the driver, Ralph Stevens, who appeared to potentially be under the influence of a substance.”

Court documents indicate Stevens exhibited obvious signs of drug use including pock marks, severely discolored and missing teeth, continuous fidgeting, inability to sit still, and rapid speech.

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“Stevens made comments to officers that indicated he was not telling to truth,” Arnold said. “Officers conducted a consent search of the vehicle and located a substance that showed presumptive positive for methamphetamine as well as drug paraphernalia. This case is still under investigation with the Missoula Police Department.”

Officers located a red backpack inside the vehicle containing a digital scale with meth residue, tourniquets, 45 empty plastic baggies, multiple needles, and a broken pipe with residue.

The officer asked Stevens if he was planning to distribute drugs. Stevens denied it and showed the officer a Facebook Messenger conversation with another male. The messages revealed that Stevens asked the male for a “ball” and the male replied that he was looking for a “quarter.” The officer knows these terms are commonly used to describe quantities of drugs. Stevens later admitted to purchasing an “8 ball” from the male several days ago but denied using it.

The officer arrested Stevens for possession of paraphernalia. While conducting a search incident to arrest, the officer located three baggies containing a total of 3.28 grams of suspected meth and $300 in cash. Stevens said he earned the money from working.

Stevens is currently being charged with felony criminal possession with intent to distribute and possession of drug paraphernalia.

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

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