Missoula, MT (KGVO-AM News) - On September 13, 2023, at 01:48 a.m., a Missoula County Sheriff’s Office Deputy observed a suspicious vehicle parked in an unusual area on the side of Broadway. The vehicle then pulled out and he noticed it did not have a license plate light. The deputy stopped the vehicle and ran the license plate.  

The deputy became concerned that a crime could be occurring because the occupants were acting evasive by looking away from him when talking and avoiding certain questions. The deputy identified the two front occupants and the rear occupant. The driver told him he was John Franklin. The deputy asked the driver to produce his Facebook or some proof of who he was, and he could not. The back seat occupant was identified as 30-year-old Brooke Cardonia. 

The deputy was advised by a Missoula Police Department officer that the vehicle he stopped may be connected to a partner, family member assault – strangulation case that he took last week. He told the deputy that the suspect in that case was the driver. The deputy looked the driver up on his computer and it was a match. It was clear that the driver had lied to the deputy about his identity. 

Other MPD officers arrived on scene. The original officer advised that last time he had encountered the occupants they were in a stolen vehicle. Officers requested dispatch contact Butte Law Enforcement to see if the vehicle was stolen. They were advised by dispatch that the registered owner of the vehicle said the vehicle was missing from his property and Butte was going to investigate it as stolen.  

Being that the vehicle might have been stolen and that the driver had a propensity for violence, the deputy opted to transition to a high-risk traffic stop. The deputy and other officers were near a hotel and St. Patrick’s hospital. In addition, the officer’s potential victim from the PFMA case was in the vehicle. The deputy believed a high-risk stop was the safest and most efficient way to protect all parties involved and the public. 

According to court documents, the deputy held his pistol in position and ordered the occupants out. The high-risk stop occurred with no incident and all occupants were detained. The officer and deputy both spoke to the registered owner of the vehicle who advised he was going to contact Butte Law Enforcement and report it as stolen and that he consented for them to search the vehicle. 

The officer conducted his PFMA investigation, and the deputy completed a vehicle search with the other officers. In the glove box, next to some citations for Cardonia, was methamphetamine. The deputy knew it was methamphetamine because after being advised of her Miranda rights and waiving those rights, Cardonia admitted to it being hers and that it was indeed meth. They also located six cell phones, various spoons, foil, tooters, and Narcan, which is used to reverse opiate overdoses. 

Cardonia and the driver were both placed under arrest and were transported to the Missoula County Jail. Cardonia is currently being charged with felony criminal possession of dangerous drugs. The driver is currently being charged with obstructing a peace officer, which is a misdemeanor.  

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

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