A Baraboo man faces felony charges after allegedly being found passed out with a loaded sawed-off shotgun and a lit gas torch inside a truck.
Jonathan Popple, 33, has been charged with possession of a short-barreled shotgun or rifle, as a repeat offense, repeated possession of a firearm by a felon and misdemeanor possession of drug paraphernalia.
Popple appeared in Columbia County Circuit Court for a bond hearing Wednesday where District Attorney Jane Kohlwey requested Popple be held on a “substantial cash bond.”
“He was found passed out in his vehicle with a torch that was still flaming in the vehicle that we believe was used for consuming some controlled substance,” Kohlwey said.
The charges came from an incident around 1:30 a.m. Tuesday when a Columbia County Sheriff’s Office deputy noticed a pickup truck parked in Pine Island Wildlife Reserve along the Wisconsin River, just west of Portage.
The officer reported that the man inside the truck appeared to be asleep or passed out, and on the floor was a burning gas torch. After waking the man (Popple), the officer asked him to turn off the torch and step out of the vehicle.
A search of the truck revealed more torches and lighters, used smoking pipes, a container with plastic baggies in it, scales, two knives and a sawed-off shotgun. The 12-gauge shotgun, which had been under a T-shirt, had the barrel and part of the stock cut off and was loaded with three rounds in the magazine and one in the chamber.
Suspected illegal drugs were found. Kohlwey said the material was sent to the Wisconsin State Crime Lab for testing as a matter of officer safety and it being in a small enough quantity that the officer did not want to hazard it being used up in field testing.
“He was just convicted of felony drug charges for distribution of controlled substances in February 2016 and was revoked from that probation and placed on a one-year jail sentence, so he is probably just out of jail from those charges,” Kohlwey said.
Judge W. Andrew Voigt said, “The simple reality is that the collection of allegations here, in particular the circumstances described of the defendant when discovered, are sufficiently dangerous that I don’t know that this court could seriously consider a signature bond under any circumstances.”
Voigt ordered Popple to be held on a $2,500 cash bond and to next appear in court for a Nov. 9. If convicted, Popple faces a potential sentence of more than 20 years in prison for the weapons charges.