Plea agreement reached in local drug possession case

SUBLETTE COUNTY – A man arrested and charged with two counts of drug possession after being revived with Narcan to reverse an overdose on Aug. 6 has made a plea agreement and is expected to change his not guilty pleas on Jan. 27 in 9th District Court.

Warren J. Phillips, of Big Piney, had a past misdemeanor conviction for drug possession; the two additional possession misdemeanors for meth and Buprenorphine from his August accident raised both new ones to felony status, according to court records.

On Aug. 6, a deputy responded to a call about an unresponsive man in a Ford F150 off Highway 351 in the sagebrush and found Phillips unconscious; he started breathing after the deputy performed CPR but remained unconscious.

Sublette EMS arrived and administered Narcan, a nasal spray used to reverse possible opiate overdoses, the affidavit says. Phillips came to shortly after and was taken by ambulance to the Pinedale Medical Clinic, where he recovered and was later questioned. Phillips said he didn’t understand or remember what happened.

Deputies took and tested several white pills and white powder hat came back “presumptive positive” for Buprenorphine and meth respectively, the affidavit says. Buprenorphine is described as an opioid used to treat opioid dependence.

He was also charged with driving under the influence of a controlled substance and failure to maintain his lane, according to court records.

His release bond was set at $5,000 cash in Circuit Court and amended to $1,000 cash or surety in 9th District Court; Phillips was allowed to work with restrictions, court records show.

The enhanced possession felonies each carry a maximum penalty of five years in prison and $5,000 fines; the misdemeanors carry a maximum total of six months, 20 days in jail and $950 fines.

On Dec. 2, the Sublette County Attorney’s Office filed a petition to revoke and forfeit his bond after his Nov. 19 urinalysis indicated presence of amphetamine, buprenorphine, meth and Norbuprenorphine; a week later his sample indicated Norbuprenorphine and buprenorphine, according to court records.

A bond revocation hearing was continued while deputy attorney Clayton Melinkovich and public defender Rachel Weksler crafted a plea agreement, filed on Jan. 7 in 9th District Court.

The change-of-plea hearing is set for Jan. 27 at 10 a.m.

The plea agreement outlines Phillips will plead guilty to the felony count of meth possession and driving under the influence of a controlled substance. They will recommend a prison sentence of three to five years, all suspended for three years of supervised probation.

For the DUI charge, they will recommend additional probation and a terminal sentence of 60 days. That could be reduced to 30 days if Phillips applies for and participates in Sublette County Treatment Court. Judge Marv Tyler will be asked to dismiss the second felony possession and the driving misdemeanor.