A Florida man who was pulled over on Interstate 90 near Columbus for driving 6 miles above the speed limit was arrested on Tuesday after a Montana Highway Patrol trooper found 78 pounds of meth in his rental car.
Nicholas James Imhoff, 29, is facing charges of possession with intent to distribute meth and is set for a hearing in federal court in Billings. He's being held in the Yellowstone County Detention Facility.
On Tuesday just before 10:30 a.m., Imhoff was pulled over by an MHP criminal interdiction trooper near mile marker 392 on I-90 east for driving 86 mph in an 80 mph zone.
Imhoff was driving alone in a rental car with Illinois license plates. The Dodge Caravan was rented five days earlier in Las Vegas.
Imhoff told the trooper that he was driving from Las Vegas to his home in North Dakota to work in the oil field, but when asked could not provide a home address in North Dakota, or even a zip code of where he lived. He had no luggage in the car, court docs say.
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During questioning, the trooper noticed that Imhoff was visibly shaking, and that his story seemed inconsistent and that Imhoff was acting nervously.
A K-9 unit alerted to drugs in the car, and the trooper seized the car and got a search warrant. Imhoff was dropped off at a gas station in Columbus, but taken from the gas station to the Drug Enforcement and Administration offices in Billings after the trooper searched the impounded car and found 78 pounds of meth.
The meth was hidden under floor storage compartments in the car in garbage bags and some wrapped in duct tape. Tests came back positive for meth.
Tuesday's drug bust is "by far the largest amount of meth we've seen in a single traffic stop," said John Barnes, a spokesperson for the Montana Department of Justice.
The 78 pounds of meth is approximately 282,672 individual doses. That's about as heavy as a German shepherd. (German shepherds weigh 75-95 pounds on average.)
In 2018 the Montana Highway Patrol seized just over 11 pounds of meth. In 2017 MHP seized 68 pounds of meth, according to annual reports. Almost half of the meth seized in 2017 was found during a single traffic stop in Custer County. Almost 29 pounds of meth was seized then.