Pocatello man accused of running from police while in possession of meth, fentanyl - East Idaho News
High-speed chase

Pocatello man accused of running from police while in possession of meth, fentanyl

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POCATELLO — A man police said fled a traffic stop before being found in possession of drugs and paraphernalia has been charged with numerous crimes.

Michael Lee Pongah, 40, of Pocatello, faces felonies for eluding an officer, possession of fentanyl, possession of methamphetamine and unlawful possession of a firearm, as well as misdemeanors for obstructing an officer and possession of drug paraphernalia, court records show.

While on patrol near West Cedar Avenue around 4 p.m. June 8, a Pocatello Police officer stopped a silver vehicle for not displaying a rear license plate, according to an affidavit of probable cause.

The car stopped, and the officer pulled behind it, but the car then drove away “recklessly” and “at a high rate of speed,” the affidavit says.

The silver vehicle failed to stop at multiple stop signs, traveling around 70 mph in a 35 mph zone.

Due to the dangerous speed and reckless driving, the officer ceased pursuit near the intersection of Poleline Road and Tanager Street.

A short time later, officers saw the same vehicle driving through the Pine Ridge Mall parking lot, nearly causing three crashes, according to the affidavit. Following a “short foot pursuit,” Chubbuck police officers took the driver, Pongah, into custody.

After Pongah’s arrest, officers searched his vehicle and found what was believed to be meth, two fentanyl pills — one whole and one crushed — multiple “loaded” syringes, empty syringes, torches and a meth pipe, the affidavit says. Officers also found a Taurus 9mm handgun. Because he was convicted of a felony for attempting to elude an officer in 2010, Pongah was prohibited from possessing a firearm.

Pongah was placed under arrest and taken to Bannock County Jail, where he was booked and is being held on a $20,000 bond.

Though Pongah has been charged with these crimes, it does not necessarily mean he committed them. Everyone is presumed innocent until they are proven guilty.

If he is found guilty, Pongah would face up to 26 years in prison.

He is scheduled to appear in court Thursday for a preliminary hearing before Magistrate Judge Todd Garbett.