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Felon placed on rider after police find him with drugs and gun

Crime Watch

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Joshua Michael Russell | Bonneville County Jail

IDAHO FALLS — A convicted felon will spend up to the next year on a rider program after being sentenced Monday.

Joshua Michael Russell, 32, pleaded guilty on March 25 to unlawful possession of a firearm by a convicted felon and felony possession of a controlled substance.

District Judge Joel E. Tingey sentenced Russell to two to five years in prison. Tingey retained jurisdiction over the case, meaning the Department of Correction will send Russell to receive intensive programming and education, and once Russell completes the rider, the court determines to either place him on probation or to serve the time given at sentencing.

As part of a plea agreement, prosecutors dropped an aggravated assault charge, a second possession of a controlled substance charge and a misdemeanor paraphernalia charge.

RELATED | What is a rider?

The Idaho Falls Police department arrested Russell on Jan. 13, after they got a call that a man had kicked down a door and was trying to chase another man out of the apartment.

When police spoke with the victims, they said Russell had pointed a gun in a “threatening manner,” which made them afraid.

RELATED | Armed man barges into Idaho Falls apartment, threatens couple, say police

“Josh took (the male victim) over to the bathroom and tried to force him to open the door so he could see (the female victim),” according to court documents.

While in the bathroom, the woman messaged her mother, who called the police.

As Russell heard the police arrive, he left the home while forcing the boyfriend to walk in front of him out the door toward Russell’s car. When police arrived, Russell tried to go back to the apartment, but police ordered him to the street instead. The boyfriend returned to the apartment.

A short time later, police placed Russell into custody. While searching the area, police discovered the pistol under a truck parked near the apartment. A bullet was in the chamber.

Officers found a white glass pipe with methamphetamine residue, a small digital scale, a large number of clear plastic baggies, multiple cotton swabs and two unused syringes in Russell’s car.

After Russell was booked into Bonneville County Jail, authorities later found methamphetamine as well as black tar heroin in his waistband.

Tingey ordered Russell to pay $1,831 in fees and fines.