Man charged with disguised fentanyl pills

SUBLETTE COUNTY – An Idaho Falls man was charged with bringing fentanyl pills disguised as Oxycodone tablets into Sublette County after people reported seeing him pull over several times traveling north of Rock Springs on Jan. 28.

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.

He is represented by public defender Rachel Weksler and Sublette County Attorney Mike Crosson is prosecuting him. Black requested a jury trial.

Wyoming Highway Patrol Trooper Tyler Schilling responded to a call around 1:14 p.m. of a man driving a silver Hyundai in Rock Springs all over the road, according to his affidavit.

A caller also reported the man stopped at a gas station and was slumped over the steering wheel.

A Sweetwater County deputy followed the vehicle, which pulled into a feed store near Farson; the man got out and smoked from a pipe and then began driving north on Highway 191 again. 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 and set up stationary radar and the Hyundai passed by, traveling 55 mph in the 50-mph zone, according to the affidavit. He stopped the vehicle for speeding at about 2:29 p.m. The driver had a hard time concentrating and his pupils were very constricted, it says.

Several more WHP officers arrived and talked with Black, who reportedly said he used meth and Oxycodone “on a regular basis.” A Sweetwater County deputy brought a drug dog that 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 oil 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 being stopped in Idaho on Jan. 11 with 300 alleged fentanyl pills stamped as Oxycodone. The agent said the Idaho State Police tested them and they were confirmed a fentanyl, according to his affidavit.

A TrueNarc Scan was inconclusive, showing the Sublette County pills contained acetaminophen but narcotics couldn’t be ruled out. White powder was confirmed as meth; the oil substance was not identified. Black later reportedly told the DCI agent the pills were fentanyl disguised as Oxycodone, the affidavit says.

Black’s bond was set at $50,000 cash in Circuit Court; Weksler asked it to be changed it to cash or surety so if bonded out, Black could stay with his family in Idaho Falls.

Crosson said he had concerns about Black’s lack of ties to Sublette County, saying, “it is unlikely we will see him again if he gets out.”

Black said he missed an Idaho court appearance for the January charges – he had been released on bond in Idaho when he was stopped in Sublette County.

“Also there is the very significant quantity of very dangerous drugs,” Crosson said of fentanyl. “He had many different kinds of intoxicating substances with him.”

Judge Tyler took the bond amendment under advisement.