Emmett council member arrested on marijuana possession charge

jsowell@idahostatesman.comFebruary 8, 2014 

Stephen Frey was arrested late last month on a charge of possession of a controlled substance, marijuana, and possession of drug paraphernalia.

The arrest came nearly two months after the Emmett Police Department received an early morning call of suspicious circumstances, the Emmett Messenger Index reported Dec. 4. The newspaper reported that police seized "substances" that were not publicly identified.

Police Chief Steve Nebeker asked the Idaho State Police to investigate the case because of a conflict of interest because Frey sits on the council. The charges were filed following that investigation. No hearing date has been set.

"Oh gosh. I don't want to talk about it until after I go to court," Frey said by telephone Saturday.

He will have to face his fellow councilors at the council's next meeting Tuesday. Frey said he doesn't know what kind of reception he will receive, but said it's already been hanging over his head for two months.

"It's certainly not going to help me," he said. "The hardest part has been facing my supporters."

The owner of a construction company, Frey joined the council in 2012 and has served half of his four-year term.

Frey ran for mayor last fall. At the time, he said elected officials should be held to a high standard, according to answers he gave to the Messenger Index in a candidate questionnaire.

Incumbent Mayor Bill Butticci won the race with 68 percent of the 650 votes cast. Frey finished second with 16 percent and Rustin Alsup was third with 15 percent.

Butticci said he was disappointed by Frey's arrest, which he said undermines residents' confidence in their elected officials.

"It's all a trust issue," Butticci said. "People need to have faith in our public officials."

Butticci, who joined the council in 2006 and who became mayor the following year, said he hasn't heard of another Emmett councilor getting arrested.

"When you're sworn in, you take an oath to uphold the laws of Emmett and Idaho. It doesn't look good when a person who has taken that oath may have violated it," Butticci said.

Frey said he has worked hard during his two years on the council to keep garbage rates low and has pushed for longer hours at the city library and city hall.

"I think I've done a good job," Frey said.

Fry was convicted twice before in Gem County for possession of a controlled substance. In 1993, he was sentenced to 30 days in jail, with 25 days suspended, and fined $283, according to the state's online court records repository. The following year, he was sentenced to 90 days in jail, with 80 days suspended, and fined $350.

In 1993, he was also convicted of driving under the influence. He spent five days in jail and was fined $448.

Since his current arrest on Jan. 28, Frey said no one has called him or sent an email criticizing him.

"I haven't heard from anyone about this," he said.

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