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Woman pleads not guilty to drug charges

Three defendants made an initial appearance Tuesday in 20th District Judicial Court before Judge Deborah "Kim" Christopher, answering to charges in their respective cases.

Amanda Lynn North pleaded not guilty to a felony charge of criminal possession of dangerous drugs and a misdemeanor count of criminal possession of drug paraphernalia. North was a passenger in a vehicle that was stopped on Highway 135 in Paradise on February 12. Deputy Wegener of the Sanders County Sheriff's Office and Montana Highway Patrol Trooper Steve Spurr found a bag with a substance that tested positive for methamphetamine in the vehicle, according to charging documents. North then admitted to officers that the bag belonged to her. After North was transported to the Sanders County Jail, officers reported they found a bag and a pipe while searching North. Judge Christopher set North's trial date for August 14.

Chyene Baird of Thompson Falls appeared Tuesday from the Sanders County Jail, pleading not guilty to two counts of felony criminal child endangerment and one misdemeanor count of driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, first offense. Baird was driving a car that was involved in a one-vehicle rollover on July 21, 2022, east of Thompson Falls on Highway 200. Baird and two children were transported to hospitals. Charging documents state that Baird admitted to officers at the hospital that she had used methamphetamines the evening of July 20. Officers also found at the scene of the crash a bottle containing three different types of pills, as well as drug paraphernalia. Judge Christopher denied a request to lower Baird's bond and set a trial date of August 14, 2023. "The court has significant concerns," Judge Christopher stated, "and I'm not sure I can't protect the public given the information in this case" if she were to lower Baird's bond amount.

William Bierwagen also made his initial appearance on Tuesday, pleading not guilty to one felony charge of burglary. According to court documents, officers responded to a reported burglary at Bierwagen's parents' house in Trout Creek on January 1, 2023. Bierwagen admitted to officers who responded that he had kicked in the door of the house and took a jar with change in it. Judge Christopher set a trial date of August 14, 2023, for Bierwagen.


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