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Atkins charged for drug possession after domestic dispute

by DERRICK PERKINS
Editor | October 15, 2021 7:00 AM

A local man faces drug charges after officers from multiple law enforcement agencies responded to an August disturbance call at a Libby area trailer park.

Prosecutors charged Randall Patrick Atkins, 34, with a felony count of criminal possession of dangerous drugs and two misdemeanor counts of criminal possession of drug paraphernalia following his Aug. 27 arrest. He pleaded not guilty to all three charges in Lincoln County District Court on Sept. 27.

In an affidavit, Deputy James Derryberry recounted heading to the scene after Deputy Derek Breiland took him up on an offer of help about 6:55 p.m. Disturbances, Derryberry wrote, “can get escalated, creating an officer and public safety issue.”

Upon arrival, Derryberry learned that Atkins allegedly admitted to using methamphetamine recently with his uncle. Atkins was staying with the 61-year-old at the time, court documents said. Atkins consented to a search of his room and Breiland was in the process of asking the uncle for permission as well.

While Breiland began going through Atkins’ room, Derryberry stayed with the older man in the kitchen. The 61-year-old allegedly told Derryberry he saw Atkins use a pipe to smoke several days earlier. He also suspected Atkins gave his dog methamphetamine as the animal had been running in circles in a different room for roughly seven hours.

The uncle told Derryberry that he was unaware of where Atkins kept his drugs. But he suspected it was a substance other than marijuana “because he has used marijuana personally and it doesn’t keep you up for three days in a row going 90 miles an hour,” according to court documents.

The older man denied using drugs with Atkins and told Derryberry he had eschewed drugs for several years.

Derryberry noticed an upside-down Frisbee on the table filled with odds and ends. In the affidavit, Derryberry recounted spotting a pack of cigarettes, prescription bottle emblazoned with Atkins’ name, lighter and small glass tube, among other items. He suspected the glass tube was a broken pipe, according to the affidavit.

Atkins’ uncle told him that the Frisbee’s contents belonged to his nephew, court documents said.

Derryberry brought the tube outside of the house to question Atkins, who acknowledged usually emptying his pockets into the Frisbee, but told the deputy that he was out of the house all day. When Derryberry held up the tube, Atkins denied knowing anything about it.

Atkins consented to letting Libby Police officer Ian Smith search him. The frisk turned up nothing illegal, Derryberry wrote, so he mentioned hearing that Atkins had admitted using methamphetamine recently.

Atkins allegedly confirmed the story, telling Derryberry that he smoked it with his uncle. The methamphetamine turned up while Atkins worked on his van, according to court documents.

Derryberry noted the open sores on Atkins’ face and arms, writing that it was a symptom of methamphetamine use. Atkins, though, said he was suffering from a fungus and that the prescription bottle in the house contained anti-fungal medication, according to court documents.

A subsequent field test of the tube came back positive for methamphetamine, court documents said.

When the lawmen asked to search Atkins’ van, he became disagreeable, Derryberry wrote.

“[Atkins], who had been very cooperative and has given consent to search his residence and his person, suddenly became uncooperative,” Derryberry recounted. “Specifically, his voice went up a few octaves and [he] said, ‘No, I don’t want him to search my shit.’” Atkins declined to consent to a search of the van, court documents said. When Breiland told him that the van would be seized and a K9 unit brought to the vehicle, Atkins began walking away, Derryberry recalled. He grabbed hold of the rear of Atkins’ overalls and cuffed him on a criminal possession of drug paraphernalia charge.

While Atkins went with Smith to the Lincoln County Detention Center, Derryberry photographed the area around the van. He found three pieces of tinfoil on the ground beside the passenger side as well as a curled, glass tube, which later tested positive for methamphetamine, court documents said.

A K9 unit arrived about 7:55 p.m. The dog alerted to the odor of narcotics on the driver’s side door seam and the passenger side door, court documents said.

Investigators searched the seized vehicle Sept. 1. Joined by Detective Brandon Holzer of the Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office and again by Smith, Derryberry found a baggie packed with a “white crystallized substance,” according to court documents. They also turned up four burnt, glass pipes, which tested positive for methamphetamine.

Authorities seized a black flag, bearing the Nazi’s SS logo and the image of skull and crossbones, as well. Derryberry wrote in the affidavit that the symbols are associated with white supremacist hate groups.

Criminal possession of dangerous drugs is punishable by up to five years in state prison and a $5,000 fine. The two misdemeanor charges carry a maximum penalty of six months in county jail and a $500 fine.

Atkins is expected back in court for an omnibus hearing Dec. 6 with a pretrial conference to follow on Jan. 10. Were the case to go to trial, it would begin in February.