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It's an episode that Jay Patrick would have liked to write about: A reporter, trying to adjudicate his case on fishing without a license, is mistaken for a methamphetamine trafficker and booked into jail for two days.

Just one problem: Patrick was that reporter. He spent two nights in the Cache County jail last week before law enforcement officials in two states realized he wasn't actually one of Nevada's 10 most-wanted fugitives.

"I was pretty scared," Patrick said Wednesday. "You hear of people put on death row who didn't do it, so I'm thinking it's feasible I could go to prison for this."

Patrick, 36, may have been in jail longer if not for his work at The Herald Journal in Logan, where he was a reporter from July 2009 to September 2010. An attorney was able to find articles he wrote and time cards showing he wasn't in Mesquite, Nev., on the dates he was accused of selling meth. But questions remain about how his name was entered into a law enforcement database in the first place. Calls to the police agencies involved weren't returned.

Patrick's incarceration began the morning of March 30, when he went to 1st District Court in Logan. Earlier, Patrick had been cited for a misdemeanor count of fishing without a license.

He had missed a court date, and a warrant had been issued for his arrest. But Patrick only needed to pay $220 to settle the case, and he anticipated no problems.

A court bailiff took Patrick to the Cache County jail for a quick processing, followed by his release. But when an officer checked a law enforcement database for whether Patrick had any other warrants, he found something.

"After 20 minutes or so, the officer comes in and says, 'You are wanted in Nevada for meth trafficking, and, in fact, Mr. Patrick, you are on the top 10 most-wanted list.'"

He was in shock. Then Patrick, whose full name is Jason William Patrick, told the officer there must be a mistake and he should check the birth date and ask the Nevada authorities to send a photo. But the birth date matched, and when authorities sent a photo to Cache County, it matched as well.

In fact, most of the personal information posted on the Nevada Department of Public Safety (DPS) "10 Most Wanted" website for "Patrick, Jason William" matched the man sitting in the Cache County jail. Nevada DPS even placed Patrick's driver's license photo on the site.

The jail staff booked Patrick, strip searched him and issued a red jumpsuit with white horizontal stripes. He was able to call his grandmother, and he phoned and left a message at the office of Herm Olsen, a Logan attorney and member of the City Council. Then Patrick went to a cell.

Patrick said his two cellmates were young local men accused of selling marijuana and psychedelic mushrooms. Patrick — who says he has never used, sold or been around meth — told them his story.

"They were just like, 'That's a trip,' " Patrick said. "They were laughing about it. They couldn't believe it happened."

Patrick's grandmother called his stepmother — an attorney in Coeur d'Alene, Idaho — who called Las Vegas attorney Martin Hart.

Hart told an assistant district attorney in Mesquite, "You're about to spend money to extradite the wrong guy."

Hart said he has since been told a drug task force in Mesquite was using a confidential informant to buy meth from a suspected dealer. The informant, Hart said, told police the dealer's name was Jay Patrick.

Hart said the suspect's girlfriend later told police he uses that name when he's in trouble.

On Friday morning, Patrick told Olsen that he had articles in the The Herald Journal proving he wasn't in Mesquite on the dates the warrant claimed. Olsen told him the articles might not be enough proof.

So Olsen called The Herald Journal to retrieve his time cards.

Friday afternoon, Patrick told a Cache County sheriff's detective he has only driven through Mesquite on the way to Las Vegas and has had no credit problems or other indications of identity theft.

A few minutes later, the jail released Patrick after 55 hours in custody.

"I remember the sun was very bright," Patrick said. "I had to shield my eyes. I think the exhaustion, the whole thing, just kind of hit me."

Patrick and Hart said they still don't know how he ended up on the wanted list. On Wednesday afternoon, the Nevada most-wanted website still had Patrick's photo and information with a stamp reading "CAPTURED" and the date he was booked into jail. Patrick wasn't on the list Wednesday evening.

Patrick, who previously worked at the Daily Herald in Provo and now works as a freelance journalist in Boise, Idaho, said he's doesn't know if he's mad yet.

"If somebody messed up, or some lazy cop work or a judge signed something that you shouldn't sign, I'm going to be mad," Patrick said.