Whitefish man pleads not guilty to drug charges

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A 49-year-old Whitefish man pleaded not guilty Thursday in Flathead District Court to a pair of felony drug charges.

Joe Stark Jr. is charged with criminal distribution of dangerous drugs and criminal possession with intent to distribute after allegedly selling methamphetamine to a confidential informant, then admitting to being part of a distribution network.

According to a court document, Stark sold one gram of meth to the informant on Aug. 21, 2012. Several days later, Northwest Drug Task Force agents confronted Stark at the Town Pump Casino in Whitefish.

After advising Stark of their search warrants, he reportedly told them most of his meth was in a black gym bag in the back seat of his vehicle. The court document states that 12 plastic bags of meth were found in the vehicle and nine more bags of meth were found in his home.

Stark also allegedly admitted he was receiving ounce quantities of meth from Spokane each week.

If convicted of both charges, Stark faces between two years and life plus 20 years in prison and a fine of up to $100,000. His next hearing is scheduled for June 12.

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