Couturiaux Waives Hearing in Meth Case

CLEARFIELD – A Clearfield man who is facing felony and misdemeanor drug charges for allegedly having a large quantity of methamphetamine is headed for county court.

John Victor Couturiaux Jr., 50, has been charged by the Pennsylvania State Police with felony manufacture, delivery or possession with intent to manufacture or deliver.

He’s also been charged with misdemeanor intentional possession of controlled substance (three counts), marijuana-small amount personal use, use/possession of drug paraphernalia and make, repairs, sell, etc. offensive weapon.

Couturiaux waived his right to a preliminary hearing Wednesday during centralized court at the Clearfield County Jail. His bail is currently set at $250,000 unsecured.

The charges stem from an incident that occurred at approximately 9:22 p.m. Feb. 28, according to the affidavit of probable cause filed with the office of Magisterial District Judge Mike Morris.

A trooper noticed a dark-colored Chevrolet sports utility vehicle traveling on state Route 879 toward South Second Street. It appeared its registration wasn’t illuminated.

He started to travel behind the SUV and activated his emergency equipment to initiate a traffic stop. The vehicle stopped in a business parking lot off Fullerton Street in Lawrence Township.

Contact was made with the driver and her front-seat passenger, Couturiaux. The trooper requested vehicle information from her, then for identification from Couturiaux.

Inside the vehicle, the trooper saw multiple butane lighters that were within reach of the couple. He requested the driver to step out in order to show her the vehicle’s registration light was out.

As they spoke, she appeared nervous and avoided eye contact with the trooper. Her pupils also appeared to be dilated and she used her cellular phone.

Chief Doug Clark and Officer Zachary Cowan of the Lawrence Township police arrived on-scene. Cowan was requested to evaluate the driver more closely for signs of impairment.

When Clark was asked about the couple, he said they were suspected of illegal drug activity. The trooper was also advised a heroin overdose had recently occurred at their township residence.

As part of the investigation, a criminal history check was completed on the couple. And the trooper found Couturiaux had two felony drug delivery convictions.

The trooper subsequently requested consent to search the vehicle, which was granted both verbally and in writing by its driver who was also its registered owner.

The search allegedly uncovered a handbag containing a scale with residue and empty/unused plastic baggies; a second handbag containing a baggie of methamphetamine and two glass smoking pipes; an eyeglass holder containing a small spoon and two larger baggies of methamphetamine; and a stun gun.

During an interview with police, the driver said the methamphetamine was for personal use, but that she also sells the drug to a few close friends.

Couturiaux reportedly admitted that he uses methamphetamine and marijuana. Prior to his transport, he said he had a smoking device and a gram-and-a-half of methamphetamine.

A search of his person uncovered a smoking pipe; $920 in cash; a baggie of methamphetamine; and a metal container with a small spoon, a baggie of yellow pills with markings similar to Alprazolam, a cellophane wrapper with pills with markings similar to hydrocodone and a marijuana cigarette, police said.

In total, approximately 24 grams of methamphetamine were seized as a result of the traffic stop, according to the affidavit of probable cause.

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