Missoula, MT (KGVO-AM News) - The Missoula County Attorney’s Office charged 19 new criminal complaints this week, which is nine less than last week, but still higher than their weekly average. Mac Bloom is the Lead Attorney of the Major Crimes Unit and he said a lot of the cases this week involved drugs and violence. 

“I don’t think it is any surprise to you, but we have seen a large uptick in drug cases in Missoula County over the past couple of years, specifically with Fentanyl,” Bloom said. “That has been coming in from Mexico and it is driving a lot of the criminal activity that we are seeing in our town whether it is property crime or violent crime. Also, we have the methamphetamine issue, which has been around for a while, but that continues to be a big issue for law enforcement.” 

Bloom said their office also charged four strangulations, two robbery cases, and an animal abuse case. In addition, Bloom mentioned that there are five trials coming up on February 22. 

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“The way that the trial system works is that the court stacks them in priority based on their age,” Bloom said. “The court will try the oldest case first. The court always sets multiple trials for a given day in case one pleads out at the last minute. On the 22nd of February we have an indecent exposure case, an assault with a weapon case, and various other property crimes.” 

Bloom said members of the community are welcome to attend these upcoming trials in person now that COVID restrictions have been lifted. 

“These are public settings so people can watch the entire trial,” Bloom said. “Coming and going is no problem as long as you are quiet and respectful. When the judge walks in, you will need to rise for the judge. That is one thing that some people do not know and they get caught off guard when they are told by the bailiff to stand up. Rise when the judge comes in and rise when the jury leaves. Other than that, you’re more than welcome to make yourself comfortable. You can leave to use the bathroom or if you have to go back to work for a while. It is very relaxed.” 

You can listen to Bloom’s full report below:

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