WY: Change of pleas in fentanyl case

Sublette Examiner –

SUBLETTE COUNTY – An Idaho Falls man charged with bringing fentanyl pills disguised as Oxycodone into Sublette County on Jan. 28 will change his not guilty pleas after reached a plea agreement.

On Feb. 24, Steven R. Black pleaded not guilty in 9th District Court to felony possession of fentanyl, misdemeanor possession of Alprazolam, misdemeanor possession of meth, driving under the influence of a controlled substance and failure to maintain liability insurance.

His jury trial was scheduled to begin on July 19. Now Black faces a change-of-plea and sentencing hearing on May 27 at 9 a.m.

The plea agreement among Black, public defender Rachel Weksler and Sublette County Attorney Mike Crosson states that Black would plead guilty to the felony fentanyl possession charge, misdemeanor possession of meth and misdemeanor driving under the influence of a controlled substance.

The recommended sentence would be two to four years in prison for the felony, one year to the misdemeanor possession and six months for the DUI count, all to be served at the same time.

In return, Crosson would dismiss the misdemeanor possession of Alprazolam and failure to maintain liability insurance, records show.

On Jan. 28, Wyoming Highway Patrol Trooper Tyler Schilling responded to a call of a man driving a silver Hyundai in Rock Springs all over the road, according to his affidavit. A caller reported the man stopped at a gas station, slumped over the steering wheel.

A Sweetwater County deputy followed the vehicle, which pulled into a feed store near Farson; the man got out, smoked from a pipe and began driving north again on Highway 191. Trooper Schilling saw and followed the vehicle until it pulled into the Sand Draw gas station, he said: “This was three stops in 77 miles.”

The trooper drove north, set up stationary radar and pulled the Hyundai over after it passed by, traveling 55 mph in the 50-mph zone, according to the affidavit. Black had a hard time concentrating and his pupils were very constricted, it says.

Several officers arrived and talked with Black, who reportedly said he used meth and Oxycodone “on a regular basis.” A Sweetwater County drug dog alerted at the vehicle and troopers found other alleged drugs and paraphernalia.

A bag of blue pills resembling Oxycodone was weighed at 9.2 grams, an unknown oily substance weighed 17.6 grams and other small amounts of suspected Xanax, Oxycodone, meth and glass pipes were found.

A Wyoming Division of Criminal Investigation agent told Schilling that Black was out on bond after an arrest in Idaho on Jan. 11 with 300 alleged fentanyl pills stamped as Oxycodone.

Judge Tyler amended the bond to $20,000 cash.

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