Man charged for ‘dangerous propellant’

Mugshot of Joseph M. Cates courtesy of Sublette County Sheriff's Office.

SUBLETTE COUNTY – A Big Piney man charged with being under the influence of meth on Sept. 18 also faces a misdemeanor of assault and battery on a correction or detention officer by recklessly propelling a dangerous substance, saliva.

Joseph M. Cates pleaded not guilty to both on Sept. 22 in Sublette County Circuit Court and requested a six-person jury trial set for Feb. 21, 2023, according to court records.

Sublette County Deputy Attorney Clayton Melinkovich filed the charges based on a Sublette County deputy’s report. Each carries a maximum penalty of six months in jail and a $750 fine.

On Sept. 18, deputies were called to Marbleton where Cates was reportedly “behaving erratically” – yelling, whistling, picking up rocks, waving his arms and emptying his pockets, the report says.

Deputies moved to arrest him and Deputy Sinclair Streeter, a certified drug recognition expert, tried to determine what controlled substance Cates might have ingested, it says. Cates then allegedly spit saliva onto the deputy’s clothing, it says.