Weather Forecast


Prosecutor: Senator's passenger had pot, pipes

Joe Miller

GRAND FORKS -- When Sen. Joe Miller, R-Park River, was arrested on an alcohol-related driving charge June 21, his passenger was also arrested on charges of possessing marijuana and marijuana pipes, court officials say.

Kelley Cole, assistant state's attorney for Walsh County, said Miller faces no drug-related charges and that deputies on the scene saw no sign the senator had been smoking pot.

The passenger, Mathew Dub, 30, faces a count of possessing drug paraphernalia for ingesting marijuana, a misdemeanor with a maximum jail sentence of one year, and a count of possession of marijuana, a misdemeanor with a maximum jail sentence of 30 days.

Miller, 30, had earlier announced that his passenger had been arrested on drug charges, but didn't name him.

He said Tuesday that he and Dub went to high school together and Dub works on his farm. "I don't smoke pot," Miller said. "I didn't know he had that on him."

Miller, who expressed regret Dub's name is now in the news, said he hasn't spoken to Dub much about his case. "He doesn't feel like talking about it."

No pressure

On Tuesday, Miller reiterated that he has been "straightforward" about his mistake and the fact that his passenger had a drug-related arrest.

Miller said he's not getting any more pressure from his own party leaders to step down from his seat, and he's holding firm to his earlier decision not to resign.

He pleaded guilty in July to being in actual physical control of his vehicle and sentenced to 30 days in jail -- the maximum jail sentence for the misdemeanor -- but had 29 days suspended and credit for one day served after his arrest.

He paid fines for speeding and for having an open container of alcohol in his car.

Miller said Tuesday that he's also completed a chemical dependency evaluation and attended the required drunk driving seminar.

This is the second alcohol-related driving incident for Miller. In 2007, he pleaded guilty to reckless driving and paid a ticket for having an open container. In this past legislative session, Miller voted to increase penalties for drunk driving, but the penalties didn't start until Aug. 1.

Two pipes

Miller said that, on the evening of June 20, he had been at a grain elevator co-op banquet in Fordville, about 15 miles from Park River.

A Walsh County sheriff's deputy pulled him over for speeding in his Ford Mustang and noticed open containers in his car and that he appeared drunk, according to a court affidavit. His blood-alcohol level was 0.139 while the legal limit is 0.08, Cole said.

A second deputy on the scene noticed Dub kept putting his hands in his shorts pockets. The affidavit said Dub had two marijuana pipes with him and marijuana.

Dub is scheduled to go to trial Dec. 4 in state district court in Grafton.