Sauk Rapids man charged with felony possession

Joseph Paul Panek, 21, of Sauk Rapids, was charged two counts of felony fifth degree possession of a controlled substance in Morrison County Court, March 10.

The charges stem from a March 9 traffic stop, which involved a van in which Panek was a passenger.

According to the criminal complaint, a trooper conducted a traffic stop on the van near the Highway 10 and Highway 371 split north of Little Falls due to an observation of several occupants not wearing safety belts.

While conducting the traffic stop, the trooper allegedly detected a strong odor of marijuana, and Panek allegedly admitted that a backpack in the rear of the vehicle belonged to him.

A search of the backpack allegedly revealed a quart jar full of marijuana, later weighed at 64 grams, 10 Tramadol pills, which did not contain the defendant’s name, a digital scale, a used joint and a used pipe.

Panek was placed under arrest for possession of the Tramadol, which is a Schedule IV controlled substance,  and marijuana.

If convicted, Panek could receive up to five years in prison and/or $10,000 in fines for each felony count.