Missoula, MT (KGVO-AM News) - On August 2, 2023, a Missoula Police Department Officer was patrolling on Russell Street when she observed a vehicle that did not have a front license plate and did not appear to have a back license plate. The officer also noticed that the driver of the car turned his head almost entirely around to watch as the officer drove by.  

The officer conducted a traffic stop of the vehicle and found that it did in fact have a rear license plate, but it was obstructed with a dark cover and when ran, came back as a fictitious plate and returned to a trailer. The officer approached the passenger side and found the vehicle was occupied by a male driver and a female passenger.  

The officer explained the reason for the stop and asked the driver for his license, registration, and proof of insurance. The driver stated he did not “have any of that” but identified himself as 43-year-old Justin Nichols. 

The officer noticed Nichols was visibly shaking, was wearing sunglasses, and avoided turning his head toward the officer. A short time later, the officer was notified Nichols was not a valid driver and was on parole. The officer spoke with the on-call probation and parole officer and explained her observations, at which time the PO requested a complete search of the vehicle and Nichols’ person. 

Nichols exited the car and the officer conducted a search of his person. Another officer arrived and assisted in the search of the vehicle. During the search, an officer located a backpack directly behind the passenger seat, which contained a hypodermic needle with small amounts of red liquid, and multiple items with Nichols’ name on them. 

The officer also located a notebook containing numbers and dollar amounts, which appeared to be a ledger. The officer then removed a black cloth pouch from the backpack and observed it contained a plastic orange pill container with a white lid. Inside the container were four clear plastic bags with a crystal-like substance inside, as well as six $20 bills.  

Within the pouch, the officer also found a glass smoking device and a black planner. According to court documents, the crystal-like substance was tested using the TruNarc and returned a presumptive positive for methamphetamine. The four baggies weighed a combined 11.4 grams. 

Nichols is currently being charged with felony criminal possession of dangerous drugs. On August 3, 2023, Nichols made his initial appearance in Missoula Justice Court and his bond was set at $25,000. 

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

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