Larry B. Martinez. Photo courtesy of the Marathon County Sheriff's Department

By Shereen Siewert

Police suspect a 56-year-old Rhinelander man was under the influence of methamphetamine when he was arrested late Saturday in the parking lot of a town of Texas tavern.

Larry Martinez is facing charges of sixth-offense operating while intoxicated, possession of methamphetamine and possession of an illegally-obtained prescription in connection with the arrest, which happened after a bartender at Brokaw Corners called police to report two men acting suspiciously in the parking lot. A passenger in the vehicle, 29-year-old Derek Pagel, was also arrested on drug charges.

According to the criminal complaint, police arrived at about 10 p.m. in the parking lot, 238532 Hwy. W, and discovered the men “pacing” around a red Ford Explorer with a generator running in the back of the vehicle. Pagel told police the two were en route to Rhinelander and were having car trouble.

But police became suspicious when Martinez began acting restless, speaking rapidly and repeatedly “lifting one foot off the ground and then the other,” according to the complaint. The arresting officer also reported prior contacts with Pagel that led him to suspect the possibility of drug involvement.

A K-9 search of the vehicle turned up hydromorphone and oxycodone pills and police discovered a substance in Martinez’ wallet that later tested positive for methamphetamine, according to the complaint. A preliminary breath test showed Martinez, who allegedly failed field sobriety tests, did not have alcohol in his system. A chemical test of his blood is pending.

Court records show Martinez was convicted of OWI in 2004, twice in 2006, again in 2007 and finally in 2012. He remains jailed on a $6,000 cash bond.

A preliminary hearing is set for Dec. 26 in Marathon County Circuit Court.