POWELL — A recent transplant to the Cody area is facing multiple felony charges after he was allegedly caught with some $20,000 worth of methamphetamine last week, plus heroin and marijuana.
“This was just a really stupid thing on my part to have done,” William D. Taylor, 61, said during a Wednesday appearance in Park County Circuit Court.
Prosecutors have charged Taylor with three felony counts of possessing a controlled substance with intent to deliver. Each count relates to a different drug found in his vehicle during a July 12 traffic stop east of Cody.
Following the recommendation of the Park County Attorney’s Office, Circuit Court Judge Bruce Waters set Taylor’s bail at $100,000 pending further proceedings.
The judge said he saw Taylor as a flight risk and as “a serious danger to the public.”
“The quantities are significant and we’re talking … marijuana, heroin and methamphetamine, all three of them,” Waters said. “That’s problematic.”
Saying he had family members living in the area and plans to retire in Cody, Taylor had asked for a lower bond.
“Not so I could just be free so I could take off or anything like that, but so that I can seek employment and start making some money to take care of these fines and stuff I’m going to have after this thing’s done here,” Taylor said.
At that point, Judge Waters interjected. “You need to understand: You’re thinking fines; I’m thinking years in prison — and I’m guessing that’s what the County Attorney’s Office is thinking as well,” Waters said, to agreement from Taylor. “But what do I know?”
The charges theoretically carry the possibility of up to 50 years in prison. Taylor said he “just moved here to Cody” from California, but charging documents indicate that he had already landed on the radar of the Wyoming Division of Criminal Investigation.
In an affidavit submitted in support of the charges, DCI Special Agent Jonathon Reece indicated that he had identified Taylor “as being a suspect in illegal narcotics trafficking in the Cody, WY area.” Reece didn’t elaborate on the allegations in the document, but asserted “having knowledge that Taylor was involved in the obtainment and distribution of bulk methamphetamine.”
Park County Sheriff’s Deputy Tom Toohey pulled Taylor over on the afternoon of July 12, on U.S. Highway 14/16/20 east of Cody. After stopping Taylor for failing to have valid registration displayed on his 2008 Ford Edge, Deputy Toohey summoned a drug-detection dog from the Powell Police Department. Syd, who is handled by Officer Reece McLain, alerted to the scent of narcotics, the affidavit says, which led deputies, officers and DCI agents to search the Ford.
Initially, Taylor denied having any methamphetamine in the vehicle, saying he only had marijuana. Officers did find 45.66 grams of marijuana in Taylor’s luggage, but Agent Reece also located a bundle hidden in the spare tire compartment. It held roughly 201 grams — about 7 ounces — of what appeared to be crystal methamphetamine and roughly 6.5 grams — about 0.2 ounces — of a brown, powdery substance that appeared to be heroin, the charging documents say.
When asked what was in the bundle, “Taylor initially told agents that it was just methamphetamine,” Reece wrote, but “when asked if the brown substance was heroin, Taylor affirmed [it was].”
In arguing for bond to be set at $100,000 cash, Park County Attorney Bryan Skoric particularly noted the more than 200 grams of apparent meth seized from Taylor’s vehicle. Skoric called it a “very large” amount that, on the low side, would have a street value of “well over $20,000.” He said both meth and heroin “wreak havoc on any community [and] certainly have here in Park County,” saying the substances pose a danger to the area, “certainly in the hands of Mr. Taylor.”
Taylor is being represented by a court-appointed attorney. In requesting a public defender, he said he didn’t have a job and “was seeking employment” after his recent move from California. Taylor said his only assets were $967 in cash that he had in his possession at the time of his arrest, plus a similar amount held in a bank account.
Judge Waters, however, pressed Taylor for details on his finances, wondering how an unemployed person with limited funds was able to afford rent. Taylor explained that he was using the limited funds he’d saved and was splitting the rent with his brother on a “pretty reasonable place” east of Cody.
“It just … something doesn’t seem right,” Waters said. “But what do I know?”
The judge has tentatively scheduled a preliminary hearing for Wednesday morning, where he would determine whether there’s enough evidence for the case to move to District Court and toward a trial.