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Smell during routine traffic stop leads to felony charges

Jul 31, 2013 - By Eric Blom, Staff Writer

Deputies confiscated more than five pounds of marijuana and two ounces of psilocybin mushrooms during a routine traffic stop in Riverton this month.

The officials say they were alerted to the possible presence of drugs based on the appearance of the two subjects involved.

Fremont County Sheriff's deputy Jesse Jones said he stopped the suspect vehicle just before 4 a.m. on July 13 in the 1300 block of North Federal Boulevard in Riverton after it failed to pull over for a passing fire truck.

In an affidavit, Jones said the driver, Mathew Padilla, 22, of Colorado Springs, Colo., appeared to have bloodshot, glossy eyes. Jones said this was his first clue that drugs may be involved. Jones said he also smelled burnt marijuana and noticed that Padilla seemed nervous.

"His eyes continually darted from Deputy Jones' gaze," the affidavit stated.

A wad of toilet paper in a cubby hole near the driver's console appeared to Jones to conceal a long, round object. The deputy thought it might be a marijuana pipe, but when Padilla picked it up, Jones saw what looked like burnt, hand-rolled cigarette butts below the paper.

He asked Padilla if they were marijuana roaches -- butts of marijuana cigarettes -- and the Colorado man indicated they were.

At this point, Jones said he decided to search the vehicle and asked Padilla and passenger Jana Behan, 31, of Riverton, to step out of the car.

Behan started rooting through her purse, so Jones told her to put everything down and move to the back of the vehicle in case she was trying to hide evidence.

In his search, Jones found 15 roaches in the driver's compartment, and in Behan's purse, Jones found 10 suspected marijuana roaches and several hydrocodone pill bottles containing 13 pills that totaled 8.3 grams, according to the affidavit.

When he searched the vehicle's trunk, Jones opened a storage area intended for repair tools and found a larger stash of drugs: roughly 5.5 pounds of marijuana in five bricks, about 1 ounce of marijuana in a bag, and two bags of psilocybin mushrooms totaling 2.2 ounces.

Charges

Padilla and Behan had a preliminary hearing July 24.

Behan faces four felony counts: two for possession of a controlled substance for having more than 3 ounces of marijuana and more than 3 grams of hydrocodone, one possession with intent to deliver marijuana, and one possessing less than 3 ounces of a controlled substance in plant form.

The maximum penalties for her charges total 21 years in prison and $31,000 in fines.

The case against Padilla involves three charges. The first is a felony for possessing more than 3 ounces of a controlled substance in plant form.

He also faces a felony possession with intent to deliver a controlled substance and a misdemeanor possession of a controlled substance.

The maximum total penalties he faces are 16 years in prison and $21,000 in fines.

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Fremont Co. Sheriff's Office