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Bozeman man allegedly tells his kids to get rid of his marijuana during police search

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Posted at 7:51 PM, Jan 29, 2020
and last updated 2020-01-30 11:20:29-05
BOZEMAN —

A Bozeman man faces multiple charges after allegedly telling his children to dispose of marijuana in his home during a police search on Saturday.

James Russell Clark, 38, is charged with the possession and manufacture of marijuana, as well as evidence tampering and criminal child endangerment charges. He appeared in Gallatin County Justice Court on Monday, where his bail was set at $75,000.

A Bozeman police officer said in court documents he and another officer responded to a report of unsupervised children, including a toddler, throwing axes around the yard of a Bozeman residence in the 400 block of North 6th Avenue.

The officers reportedly arrived to find no children in the yard around 1 p.m. Saturday. A child opened the front door when the officers approached the residence. The reporting officer said a “very strong odor of marijuana” was coming from the house.

According to court documents, Clark had red, watery eyes when he stepped outside to speak with the officers. Due to the suspicion of marijuana and Clark’s history of prior offenses, officers contacted Clark’s probation officer, who requested that the officers search the residence.

As Clark realized the search was being requested, he allegedly went back inside and spoke with his children. Court documents say he later admitted to the reporting officer that he told his two eldest children, both under the age of 14, to get rid of marijuana hidden in the house and garage.

The reporting officer said he entered the house’s garage and found one of the children coming out of the attic crawl space, and the other standing in a pile of scattered marijuana leaves. The second officer later found a large bag of marijuana leaves in the crawl space.

Clark was placed on a probation hold and taken to the Gallatin County Detention Center. When officers returned to Clark’s residence, they found large amounts of marijuana “in multiple manufacturing states” throughout the house.

The drugs found include: a mason jar of around 35 grams of marijuana buds in Clark’s dresser; approximately 1.6 pounds of ground marijuana in a grocery bag; bags of fresh marijuana that was being dried out; bags of marijuana leaves being converted into hash oil; and marijuana leaves throughout the house, including the kitchen counter and floors.

In addition to the bail amount, Clark is not allowed to have unsupervised visits with his children while his case proceeds.