Written by The Herald-News
Dale Bertram appeared in the Montana 15th Judicial Court, July 24.
He revoked his previous not guilty to the felony charges of criminal possession of dangerous drugs and the misdemeanor charge of criminal possession of drug paraphernalia and changed his plea to guilty to both charges after reaching a plea agreement. Judge David Cybulski advised Bertram of his rights upon entry of the guilty plea before the defendant gave his statement of guilt.
According to court documents, Roosevelt County Sheriff’s Deputies Vernon First and Patrick O’Connor responded to a report about two people trying to break into Al’s Mini Storage in Culbertson.
The officers observed a black Dodge Charger and Dodge Ram pickup parked near storage unit #35 and the individuals were identified as Dale Bertram and Michelle Parker, who were both from Washington.
Court documents said that after the deputies advised Bertram of the report of suspicious activity, Bertram said he and Parker were trying to break into a unit in hopes getting Parker some furniture, except the lock had been changed. Parker told officers that the unit belonged to her and the storage unit was in her name. Officers later confirmed the story after they had talked to a Williston, N.D., man named Anthony, who loaned Parker money to pay to rent the unit. Anthony also said he did not change the lock.
O’Connor noticed Bertram’s behavior to be similar to someone under the influence of methamphetamines. After O’Connor advised Bertram of his rights, Bertram agreed to speak to the deputy and sign a waiver of his rights. He told O’Connor that he has a methamphetamine addiction and he ingested the drug earlier. The deputy later found a clear plastic baggie in Bertram’s front coin pocket, which appeared to have a small amount of clear, crystalline substance.
He later found an Altoids tin that contained, a soft spongy material that was damp, which Bertram said was used to clean his methamphetamine pipe. When O’Connor searched Bertram’s Dodge Charger, he found a glass smoking pipe with burnt residue and a used syringe. Bertram confirmed the pipe was for smoking marijuana and the syringe was used to inject methamphetamine.
O’Connor also noticed Parker’s behavior to be similar to Bertram’s. After advising her of her rights per Miranda, Parker agreed to speak to O’Connor and said she was a methamphetamine addict and recent had smoked the drug. She also signed a search waiver and O’Connor found a small plastic case in her purse, which had similar contents to the baggie on Bertram. O’Connor also found a green, hard plastic tube, which contained a clear, glass smoking pipe wrapped in a paper towel. The pipe had scorch marks on the outside and white residue inside the bowl, which Parker confirmed was methamphetamine. Both she and Bertram were arrested and transported to the Roosevelt County Detention Center for arrest processing.
Cybulski told Bertram that the penalty for criminal possession of dangerous drugs is a fine up to $50,000, or imprisonment up to five years, or both. The penalty for the misdemeanor charge of drug possession of drug paraphernalia is a prison sentence up to six months, or a fine up to the amount of $500 or both. A pre-sentence investigation was also ordered.