Tuesday, June 06, 2023

Parking lot fracas leads to drug trafficking charges

The Western News | March 31, 2023 7:00 AM

It’s not an uncommon event that couples lose track of each other while shopping in a large store, but getting charged with felony drug trafficking as a result of it is an unanticipated result.

That was the result for one man after Ponderay Police Department officers responded to the local Walmart after receiving a report of three people yelling at each other.

A subsequent investigation and search of their vehicle turned up hundreds of blue fentanyl pills, heroin, methamphetamine and marijuana.

Charges were filed against a Washington man and others were requested against two Libby, Montana, residents following a March 24 incident in a store parking lot in Ponderay, Idaho.

Wesley Allen Parker, 30, of Arlington, Washington, is charged with felony heroin trafficking (minimum 7 grams), felony possession of a controlled substance with the intent to deliver and two felony counts of possession of a controlled substance. He was also charged with misdemeanor possession of marijuana and drug paraphernalia.

The maximum sentence for heroin trafficking is life in prison. The mandatory minimum is 10 years. For possession with the intent to deliver, the maximum term is life in prison. Conviction for possession of a controlled substance may result in a maximum sentence of seven years.

Law enforcement also requested charges be filed against Kendra L. Addicott and Levi D. Olson for fentanyl possession, heroin trafficking, marijuana possession and possession of drug paraphernalia.

Addicott was described as Parker’s boyfriend and Olson as her son. A search of an online court database found no records the duo have yet been charged.

In the charging document, Ponderay Police Sgt. Jeremy Deal said he responded to the Ponderay Walmart late Friday morning after a report of a man screaming, yelling profanity and make profane gestures to people in passing cars.

When he arrived, Deal said he and detective Joseph Kaufman pulled into in a nearby parking spot and asked two men outside the vehicle and a woman seated in the front passenger seat what was going on.

In response, Deal said one of the men, later identified as Parker, said he had been in an argument with his girlfriend about “losing her in the store,” according to the affidavit. In the affidavit, the sergeant wrote that Parker said nothing had happened and what happened amounted to nothing more than yelling and screaming.

When Parker opened the car door to get his ID, Deal alleged he could see drug paraphernalia in plain sight in the pocket of the opened door. The sergeant pointed it out and, in response, he alleged that Parker provided him with several smoking devices with residue on them, which he alleged to be a marijuana product.

“Parker [said] he was unaware he was in Idaho as he thought he was in Washington,” Deal wrote in the affidavit.

Deal wrote he advised Parker he would be searching the vehicle, based on the discovery of the drug paraphernalia, and asked for honesty about what he may find during that search. The woman’s son allegedly told him that he would discover green marijuana and several marijuana products, but told him the items were all for personal use, Deal wrote in the affidavit.

During his search, Deal wrote in the probable cause affidavit that he found two glass pipes with residue, two brown bags with new drug paraphernalia, green plant material and a receipt.

When he told them the residue on the pipes did not look like marijuana and more resembled methamphetamine due to its color, Deal wrote that Parker “paused and shook his head no.” When the two Ponderay officers pointed this out, Deal said the man grinned in response.

It was at this point that Deal alleged that Parker said the pipes were his. The younger man said the retail bags were his but that some of the marijuana products belonged to his mother as she “liked the edibles.”

As he continued the search, Deal wrote that he discovered a black box in the center of the rear part of the car. Inside was “paper with hand-written numbers appearing to be dollar amounts and dates,” he wrote in the affidavit. “To me this appeared to be a ledger.”

After discovering the items, Deal wrote in the affidavit that when he read the trio their Miranda warning, all three said they understood their rights and were willing to speak with him.

The woman said the ledger was for her banking and that the $80,000 listed was from an inheritance, according to the affidavit. A scale found in the search was to divide the product they purchased to make sure all had the same amount, Deal alleged the woman told him.

Deal also wrote in the affidavit that he discovered a variety of drug paraphernalia used with heroin and methamphetamine, marijuana candy and what appeared to be a blue fentanyl pill in the door pocket.

Officers reported using field test kits to determine what some of the drugs were. Officers also alleged Parker said one of the blue pills was fentanyl.

Also found in the box were at least 35 to 50 loose blue pills.

“Due to the potency of fentanyl and the pills, and being loose in the box, it was decided to further examine the box and its content in a controlled environment,” Deal wrote in the affidavit.

When the box was catalogued at the Ponderay Police Department, Deal testified that a total of 335 blue fentanyl pills were found, along with 10 grams of methamphetamine, 20 grams of heroin and 14 Suboxone sublingual film as well as 84 grams of marijuana and an assortment of drug paraphernalia.

A preliminary hearing for Parker has been set for April 5 in Bonner County.