Wyoming news briefs for October 29
Traffic stop yields 700 pounds of meth, cocaine
EVANSTON — Two men traveling through Uinta County last weekend are behind bars and facing felony charges of possessing a controlled substance with intent to deliver after a routine traffic stop by an alert Wyoming Highway Patrol trooper resulted in the discovery of approximately 700 pounds of methamphetamine and cocaine.
On Sunday, Oct. 24, WHP Trooper Scott Neilson was parked in the median of I-80 near Lyman when he noticed a red Dodge Caravan traveling eastbound that he believed was exceeding the posted speed limit.
Neilson then conducted a traffic stop for speeding, and the two men inside, later identified as driver Brandon L. Rampersaud and passenger Darren K. Hall, reportedly informed him the vehicle was a rental and they were “on a little road trip.”
An affidavit filed by Neilson states he noticed the odor of raw marijuana emanating from the vehicle.
Neilson’s canine partner reportedly zeroed in on some large black duffle bags in the rear of the van and when Neilson unzipped the top bag, he reportedly discovered multiple large plastic bags containing a white crystalline substance.
A search of the van reportedly revealed eight duffle bags containing more than 100 large clear plastic bags and clear plastic tubs containing 601.2 pounds of methamphetamine. They also discovered 40 cellophane wrapped bricks containing 108 pounds of cocaine (including packaging). The methamphetamine would have an approximate street value of $2 million and the cocaine approximately $1 million.
Both men are facing two felony counts of possessing a controlled substance with intent to deliver, with a preliminary hearing scheduled for Nov. 5.
Man charged in abusing horse with stun gun, chain denied bond
RIVERTON — A Wyoming District Court Judge has denied special bond provisions to allow an accused animal abuser to go to a rodeo.
Charged with three counts of felony cruelty to animals, Cole Littlewhiteman, 35, of Pavillion, could face up to six years in prison and $15,000 in fines if convicted.
He was charged on Aug. 13, under a court affidavit alleging that he had kicked, tased and beaten a horse even while the horse lay helpless on the ground. He pleaded not guilty on Aug. 31.
Littlewhiteman also was bonded out of jail by another man soon after his arrest.
The second man, of South Dakota, posted a $20,000 bond to free Littlewhiteman.
The defendant applied on Sept. 20 for a modification of his bond, so that he could attend a rodeo in Casper on Sept. 24.
Littlewhiteman had been forbidden in the original bond order from having possession, contact, with, care of, or control over any animal.
The Fremont County Attorney’s Office objected to the rodeo request.
Wyoming District Court Judge Marv Tyler noted in a Sept. 22 filing that on Sept. 20 he reviewed and considered the request, but “given current bond and release conditions regarding the defendant being prohibited from certain activities involving animals,” the modification was “respectfully denied.”
Littlewhiteman’s charging documents state that he was arrested by the Fremont County Sheriff’s Office after videos surfaced depicting him tasing, stomping, kicking, punching, and chain-whipping a horse –– according to court documents written July 30 by FSO lieutenant John Zerga.
Law enforcement received 14 video clips of varying length, showing what Zerga would later write was “torture and torment of the horse in an aggressive manner, causing undue suffering.”
117 active COVID-19 cases reported at WDOC facilities
CHEYENNE — As of Thursday, the number of positive COVID-19 cases (confirmed positives) identified in routine surveillance samplings at Wyoming Department of Corrections facilities was 117.
Five staff members and 25 inmates at the Wyoming Medium Correctional Institution in Torrington tested positive for COVID-19. Five staff members and 19 inmates at the Wyoming Honor Farm in Riverton tested positive (in addition to four positive staff members last week that were not reported due to shipping delays). Five staff members and 37 inmates at the Wyoming Honor Conservation Camp in Newcastle tested positive. Two staff members and three inmates at the Wyoming Women’s Center in Lusk tested positive. Nine staff members and seven inmate at the Wyoming State Penitentiary in Rawlins tested positive.
Working with the Wyoming Department of Health, all positive inmate cases are medically monitored and managed by the department and its health-care provider, Corizon Health Inc., in accordance with CDC guidelines.
The Department of Corrections continues to conduct rigorous surveillance testing at all sites, as necessary, and will provide additional information as it becomes available.