Judge considering whether deputies violated the rights of a Wellsville man arrested on drug dealing and other charges

Booking photo for Tanner J. Mitton (Courtesy: Cache County Jail).

LOGAN — A judge is expected to rule in the next month whether local law enforcement authorities violated a 26-year-old Wellsville man’s constitutional rights. Tanner J. Mitton has been in jail since February, when Cache County sheriff’s deputies arrested him on multiple drug charges during a traffic stop.

Mitton was in 1st District Court Wednesday afternoon, participating in the hearing by web conference from jail. He was previously charged with 24 felonies and misdemeanors.

On February 8, a deputy spotted Mitton, driving a red Volkswagon Jetta in Smithfield. The deputy claimed he recognized that the suspect had a warrant for his arrest.

Mitton allegedly became verbally confrontational with the deputy. He also appeared to be under the influence of methamphetamine and heroine.

Deputies obtained a warrant and searched the Jetta. Inside they found needles, aluminum foil, plastic packages with residue and two electronic scales. They also located two bags of marijuana and a baggy of cocaine. Multiple cellphones, laptops, a hard-drive, financial card swiping device and a printer were also discovered in the car.

Mitton admitted to law enforcement that he had been using drugs. He later tested positive for multiple illegal substances and was booked into jail.

During a virtual court hearing last week, public defender Mike McGinnis asked Judge Angela Fonnesbeck to dismiss the charges, stating law enforcement had violated Mitton’s Fourth Amendment Constitutional Right’s against unreasonable searches and seizures.

McGinnis argued that his client was targeted by deputies, who were waiting for Mitton to leave a home so they could pull him over. They also detained him for an abnormal length of time during the traffic stop, so they could search the vehicle.

Prosecutors claimed the traffic stop was conducted lawfully. They also said the length of time was reasonable, while a K-9 detected the presence of drugs in the vehicle.

During Wednesday’s court hearing, Mitton read a letter, asking for the court to release him from jail. He said he was not a bad person but had made some wrong choices because of his addiction to drugs.

Judge Fonnesbeck told attorneys she was going to issue a written ruling on McGinnis’ motions. She said there were “some real important constitutional issues” raised by the charges. She anticipated having the ruling completed by next week and ordered Mitton to appear again in court August 3.


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