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Conservation officers seize cocaine and six illegal firearms from Oakland County men in Montmorency County

Hoping to partake in the opening day of firearm deer hunting season, three men now face multiple charges after a Michigan Department of Natural Resources conservation officer located cocaine and illegal firearms in two separate vehicles, north of Atlanta in Montmorency County on Wednesday.

Sgt. Mike Mshar was patrolling on County Road 622, near Rouse Road, when he passed a slow-moving vehicle with a window down, occupied by two men wearing hunter orange.

The driver of the vehicle stopped to talk to Mshar, who noticed the passenger place something under his seat. Mshar asked the passenger to step out of the vehicle, and when he did, a bag of cocaine fell to the ground.

While Mshar was addressing the violation, a second vehicle arrived, driven by the father of the passenger in the first vehicle. CO Dan Liestenfeltz also arrived to assist.

Both officers suspected the father was driving under the influence of alcohol and asked him to complete field sobriety tests, which he failed. Concealed pistol license-certified, the man was also carrying a loaded pistol, which is illegal when intoxicated by drugs or alcohol.

Officers obtained probable cause to search both vehicles and located additional cocaine (2 grams total) in the first vehicle, along with three rifles. A second pistol and rifle were found in the father’s vehicle.

All three men were arrested and lodged in the Alpena County Jail. Their arraignment is pending.

The men in the first vehicle each face two felony charges, one for possessing cocaine and one for possessing a firearm with illegal drugs.

The driver of the second vehicle faces two misdemeanor charges, operating while intoxicated and possessing a firearm while intoxicated.

“This is a strong case that supports our mission to promote safe and fair hunting,” said DNR Law Enforcement Division Chief Jason Haines. “These individuals posed an immediate safety risk to themselves and others who were on the road and in the woods enjoying opening day of deer season in northern Michigan.”

The DNR will not release names until all individuals have been arraigned.

If you suspect illegal hunting activity or natural resource violations, contact the DNR's Report All Poaching hotline at 800-292-7800. Tipsters may remain anonymous and could qualify for a cash reward.

Michigan conservation officers are fully licensed law enforcement officers who provide natural resources protection, ensure recreational safety, and protect residents through general law enforcement and conducting lifesaving operations in the communities they serve. Learn more at Michigan.gov/ConservationOfficers

Note to editors: Accompanying photos are available below for download. Caption information follows.

Evidence: Michigan DNR conservation officers seized 2 grams of cocaine, two pistols and four rifles, from three Oakland County men in two separate vehicles, located north of Atlanta, on Nov. 15.