April O'Neil / news@WHMI.com

Three hunters from Oakland County have been charged with possession of illegal firearms and drugs after their vehicles were stopped by DNR Officers on Opening Day.

Michigan DNR Conservation Officer, Sgt. Mike Mshar, was patrolling on County Road 622, located north of Atlanta, when he passed a slow-moving vehicle with a window down, occupied by two men wearing hunter orange.

The driver of the vehicle stopped to talk to Mshar, who noticed the passenger place something under his seat. Mshar asked the passenger to step out of the vehicle, and when he did, a bag of cocaine fell to the ground.

While Mshar was addressing the violation, a second vehicle arrived, driven by the father of the passenger in the first vehicle. Conservation Officer Dan Liestenfeltz also arrived to assist.

Both officers suspected the father was driving under the influence of alcohol and asked him to complete field sobriety tests, which he failed. Concealed pistol license-certified, the man was also carrying a loaded pistol, which is illegal when intoxicated by drugs or alcohol.

The officers obtained probable cause to search both vehicles and located additional cocaine (2 grams total) in the first vehicle, along with three rifles. A second pistol and rifle were found in the father’s vehicle.

All three men were arrested and lodged in the Alpena County Jail. Their arraignment is pending.

The men in the first vehicle each face two felony charges, one for possessing cocaine and one for possessing a firearm with illegal drugs.

The driver of the second vehicle faces two misdemeanor charges, operating while intoxicated and possessing a firearm while intoxicated.

“This is a strong case that supports our mission to promote safe and fair hunting,” said DNR Law Enforcement Division Chief Jason Haines. “These individuals posed an immediate safety risk to themselves and others who were on the road and in the woods enjoying opening day of deer season in northern Michigan.”

The DNR will not release names until all individuals have been arraigned. The three men have been identified as residents of Oakland County.