Suspected drug dealer pleads guilty to possession, bail jumping charges

Sep. 13—An accused drug dealer who skipped out on court appearances for several years pleaded guilty to charges of criminal possession of dangerous drugs and bail jumping on Monday.

Jeffrey Duane Portmann, 55, of Spokane, Washington, initially faced a single count of criminal distribution of dangerous drugs in Flathead County District Court in the summer of 2017. Pleading not guilty at his September 2019 arraignment, Portmann failed to appear at a scheduled March 2020 pretrial conference.

Authorities hauled Portmann back before a judge this spring. Although originally pleading not guilty to bail jumping at his May 25 arraignment before Judge Dan Wilson, Portmann struck a deal with prosecutors earlier this month.

He appeared before Wilson again on Sept. 11, pleading guilty to bail jumping and an amended charge of criminal possession of dangerous drugs as per the terms of his plea deal. In exchange, prosecutors are expected to recommend Portmann receive a suspended five-year sentence for the drug possession charge and a suspended two-year sentence for bail jumping, both with the state Department of Corrections.

As per the deal, prosecutors will ask that the two sentences will run concurrently.

Following the guilty pleas, Wilson set sentencing for Nov. 9. He also ordered Portmann, who will live in the Columbia Falls area in the meantime, released on his own recognizance, but with conditions.

Portmann picked up the original drug dealing charge after allegedly selling an eight ball of methamphetamine to an undercover law enforcement agent working with the Kalispell Police Department in March 2017. According to court documents, investigators arranged the controlled buy with the help of a confidential informant with a history of trafficking heroin and methamphetamine in Flathead County.

Meeting at a Kalispell motel, the agent bought a bag containing methamphetamine, later confirmed by the Montana State Crime Lab, from Portmann, court documents said.

News Editor Derrick Perkins can be reached at 758-4430 or

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