A Tomah man is facing drug charges after a search of his vehicle allegedly revealed meth and marijuana.
Steven Champney, 26, of Tomah is charged with felony possession of methamphetamine, repeater; and misdemeanors possession of tetrahydrocannabinols, second and subsequent offense, repeater; and possession of drug paraphernalia, repeater.
Champney faces up to three years and six months in prison or a fine of up to $10,000, or both, if convicted of the methamphetamine charge. As Champney has three previous misdemeanor convictions for possession of controlled substances, bail jumping, and disorderly conduct within a five year period prior to this arrest, his sentence if convicted could increase by up to two years for each charge due to the repeater modification.
According to the criminal complaint:
At about 7:28 p.m. Nov. 26, Officer Adam Noe was at the BP gas station on State Street in Mauston when he observed Steven Champney enter the store, pre-pay for gasoline, then exit. Noe recognized Champney from several past professional police contacts.
Noe performed a records check on Champney, which revealed a revoked driving status. Champney finished fueling his vehicle, but stayed in the driver’s seat at the pump until after Noe left his parking stall.
After Noe pulled away, Champney, who Noe observed was the sole occupant of the vehicle, drove away from the pump. Champney turned onto E. State St, at which point Noe turned around his vehicle. When Noe reached Hickory Street, he observed Champney’s vehicle parked on Hickory Street near La Crosse Street.
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Champney had exited the vehicle, and was walking across the street when Noe made contact with him. He claimed he was not driving the vehicle, even though Noe informed Champney he had observed Champney driving.
Noe instructed Champney to return to the vehicle, but Champney refused and continued walking. Noe then “obtained” Champney’s left arm, which led to Champney saying what sounded to Noe like “just take me to jail.”
Champney was returned to the vehicle and instructed to sit in the driver’s seat. Asked for his driver’s license and insurance, Champney grabbed a stack of papers and attempted to exit the vehicle.
Noe smelled marijuana coming from the vehicle as Champney attempted to exit. Asked about the odor, Champney said he smoked marijuana earlier in the day. Noe informed Champney he was going to search the vehicle, and asked there the marijuana was located.
On the second time asking, Champney reached for a zippered bag, opened the zipper, and removed a gem bag containing a green leafy substance. He then placed the bag back and continued rummaging through the bag. Noe asked Champney to stop and exit the vehicle, but Champney did not stop and kept searching through the bag.
While Champney was rummaging through the bag, Noe observed a glass bulb pipe commonly used for meth. He again asked Champney to stop and exit the vehicle, at which time Champney attempted to “palm” and conceal the pipe. Noe then reached into the vehicle and grabbed Champney’s wrist.
A search of the vehicle and the bag revealed the aforementioned pipe, a glass “one hitter,” a THC vape cartridge, a gem bag with a fine, crystal like substance, and a gem bag with marijuana. Tests of the marijuana and crystal like substance tested positive for marijuana and methamphetamine, respectively.
Champney was placed under arrest. He is scheduled for a plea hearing April 16 at the Juneau County Justice Center.
Reach Christopher Jardine on Twitter @ChrisJJardine or contact him at 608-432-6591.