Sterling man arrested for drug charges

A Sterling man, Dennis Backstrom, was charged with controlled substance misconduct and theft after being arrested by Kenai police Sunday morning in the parking lot of the Kenai Safeway. According to the case’s probable cause statement, Backstrom admitted to an officer that he sold and used methamphetamine after being found with less than 2.5 grams of the substance, as a well as hypodermic needles and a glass meth pipe.

At approximately 1:27 a.m, a Kenai police officer observed Backstrom apparently passed out in the driver’s seat of a pickup truck the Safeway parking lot, with a clear case of hypodermic needles and a glass pipe in the vehicle. Speaking to the officer, Backstrom admitted to being in possession of methamphetamine, which he’d used recently and sold earlier in the day, according to the probable cause statement. Backstrom was carrying two bags of the substance — described in the police statement as “dime bags” — which he allowed the officer to retrieve from his jacket pocket.

After Backstrom consented to a search of the truck, the officer found a case with a larger bag of methamphetamine, needles, a spoon, cotton, and more dime bags — one of which appeared new and unused — and a digital scale in the glove compartment. A dimebag on the dashboard contained a brown tar-like substance that the officer identified as heroin — less than a gram, according to the probable cause statement.

Backstrom, according to the statement, “denied using or selling heroin even though it was packaged the same as the methamphetamine he possessed.” He was also in possession of $520 in cash.

The officer also found four packages of batteries in the truck, which a Safeway employee said had been stolen from the store. The batteries had a $81.58 value.

There was a female passenger in the truck, whose purse contained used dime bags and a digital scale with heroin residue on it. She told the officer Backstrom “had given her the digital scale and dime bags to hold on to,” according to the probable cause statement. An arrest or charges against the woman were not mentioned in a Kenai Police Department press release or found in a search of court records.

Backstrom is charged with two counts of third degree misconduct involving a controlled substance, two counts of fourth degree misconduct involving a controlled substance, and a count of fourth-degree theft.

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