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Wyoming News Briefs: August 28, 2019

SVI Media is part of the Wyoming News Exchange. These stories come courtesy of the WNE.


Saratoga man convicted of possession of nearly quarter pound of meth 

RAWLINS (WNE) – A Saratoga man caught earlier this year with nearly a quarter pound of crystal methamphetamine was last week convicted by a district court judge of three felony counts.

Ryan Scott Simmons, 30, could spend up to 47 years in prison and pay upwards of $65,000 in court-related fines.

He was found guilty of one count of felony possession of methamphetamine, including two respective felony counts of intent and conspiracy to deliver.

On Feb. 28, according to court records, Simmons, who was riding with 26-year-old driver Jessica Lyn Nadeau of Rawlins, was headed westbound on Interstate 80 near milepost 274 when they were pulled over by a Wyoming Highway Patrolman for having a cracked windshield.

While the routine traffic was being conducted, a drug-detection K-9 was deployed to perform a sniff test, which soon indicated a positive detection of narcotics.

Although Nadeau originally told authorities that “there should not be any controlled substances in the vehicle,” once the K-9 alerted, she admitted that she had purchased about one gram of marijuana in Colorado.

Simmons, meanwhile, was seen by an assisting trooper reaching “under his seat while he was speaking to him,” according to the affidavit.

Contraband items found upon a subsequent search included two scales, various drug paraphernalia, a small amount of marijuana and and a plastic bag that contained approximately a quarter pound of what later tested positive for meth.

Nadeau said she and Simmons traveled in his vehicle to Denver, Colorado to pick up a large amount of methamphetamine that he intended to sell in Rawlins, according to court records.


Fire near Pathfinder more than quadruples to 7,000 acres

CASPER (WNE) — A fire burning near Pathfinder Reservoir more than quadrupled in size in 24 hours.

The fire — which authorities now say was caused by lighting — has thus far claimed about 7,000 acres of mostly grassland in Carbon County, according to an update released Monday afternoon. Crews had not contained any of the fire.

Three hotshot crews, three helicopters and two airplanes were among the resources fighting the fire Monday afternoon. Eleven fire engines were also assigned to the blaze.

Lightning ignited the fire Saturday in a rural area east of Pathfinder Reservoir. It had burned 500 acres as of Sunday morning, but tripled in size that day amid dry, hot and windy conditions. Although the blaze was mostly constricted to Pyramid Mountain on Sunday morning, winds that peaked at 40 mph pushed the fire toward Pedro Mountain Ranch Road on Sunday evening. Firefighters on Sunday night burned out potential fuel near Rocky Gap Road.

The BLM is fighting the blaze along with several state and local agencies.

Firefighting aircraft are using Pathfinder Reservoir as a water source. Authorities have asked people to say away from the reservoir, and the Bishop’s and Marina boat ramps were closed Monday.

Evacuations of Pedro Mountain Estates, Pedro Mountain Ranch Road, and Cardwell Ranch were implemented Sunday and remained in place Monday afternoon. Firefighting operations also closed the areas west of Leo to the Pathfinder National Wildlife Refuge, and north of Leo to the Natrona County line.


Vehicle strikes, kills another wolf in Grand Teton National Park

JACKSON (WNE) — Canyon Phillips had the rare experience of seeing his first wild wolf up close last weekend, though unfortunately the canine had just expired.

The 3-year-old son of wildlife-watching guide Taylor Phillips probably didn’t grasp what exactly was going on when he crawled up to investigate the still-warm carcass of the grayish-white lobo late on Saturday. Moments before the female adult wolf had been fatally hit by a vehicle cruising down Grand Teton National Park’s main interior road near Colter Bay Village.

The Phillips family rolled by just as Teton Interagency firefighters, who were also driving by, were dragging the animal’s carcass off the road.

The wolf was a 7-year-old female from the Huckleberry Pack, which had been tracked and given a unique identification number by the National Park Service in the past.

Grand Teton biologist John Stephenson said that the aging lobo’s cause of death — a vehicle strike — is common for wolves within the park’s boundaries. Fourteen wolves have been hit and killed on park roads since 2005, he said.

“We have an average of one a year,” Stephenson said. “In the park, it is the No. 1 cause of mortality for wolves.”

The driver of the motor vehicle that struck the Huckleberry Pack wolf did not report it, although that is a legal requirement. Another motorist who witnessed the hapless animal being hit did phone authorities, but the reporting party did not provide enough detail for law enforcement to pursue. No investigation into the animal’s death is underway, park wildlife chief Dave Gustine said.


Douglas man faces 26 counts of sexual abuse of minor

DOUGLAS (WNE) — A Douglas man was charged Aug. 13 with nine counts of sexual abuse of a minor in the first degree, five counts of sexual abuse of a minor in the second degree, one count of attempted sexual abuse of a minor in the second degree, six counts of sexual exploitation of a child and four counts of promoting obscenity after the victim confided in a school counselor.

Alexander Lavine, of Douglas, was arrested after an investigation where the victim, now 12 years old, alleged that Lavine had sexually abused her during the summers from July 2017 to August 2019, according to the affidavit.

Lavine admitted to officers that he knew the victim and that he had performed oral sex on her and had inserted his finger into her vagina on numerous occasions over the years. Lavine also admitted to knowing the victim’s age, according to the affidavit.

Lavine has been bound over to the Eighth Judicial District Court to stand trial.

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