Sundance Times - Continuing the Crook County News Since 1884

Belle Fourche woman pleads guilty to smuggling marijuana into jail


February 6, 2020

A Belle Fourche woman has been given a suspended sentence and fines of $1050 after pleading guilty to charges of smuggling a controlled substance into a jail and driving under the influence. Sandra Vinson was arrested on June 30, 2019, after her vehicle was spotted in apparent distress on the interstate.

A Wyoming Highway Patrol trooper was notified of a vehicle near milepost 202 of I-90 that may have been in need of assistance as it was parked in the emergency lane and a male subject appeared to be attempting to flag down passersby.

The trooper located the vehicle and knocked on the passenger door. He observed a female, later identified as Vinson, sit up from a reclined position in the driver seat and roll down the window.

Vinson allegedly stated they had run out of fuel and her brother was en route to the gas station in Beulah for assistance.

The trooper allegedly noticed an open beer can and asked Vinson if she had had anything to drink and if the can was hers. Vinson allegedly answered “no” to both questions and said she had only had an alcoholic drink “way earlier” in the day.

The trooper reports that Vinson was unable to provide identification. She was escorted to the patrol vehicle, where the trooper allegedly smelled a strong odor of alcohol coming from her person.

Vinson allegedly distanced herself from the trooper by and was hesitant to verbally answer questions. The trooper requested that she perform field sobriety tests, the results of which gave him probable cause to believe she was impaired past the point of safely operating a vehicle.

Vinson voluntarily submitted to a portable breath test, which allegedly gave a presumptive reading of .13 blood alcohol. She was arrested for driving under the influence.

The trooper reports that Vinson was asked if she was in possession of any controlled substances and informed that taking any such items into the jail constitutes a felony. She allegedly denied possessing any controlled substances.

The detention deputy reports that Vinson was brought into the detention center, where he began an initial pat search. Vinson allegedly again denied possessing any controlled substances.

While conducting the booking procedure, the deputy reports that he was informed by a dispatcher that Vinson had a criminal history that included multiple arrests for drugs and various other crimes.

Due to her criminal history, the deputy informed Vinson that her purse would be searched thoroughly. The deputy allegedly located a receipt wrapped around a small amount of suspected marijuana.

Vinson pled guilty to a felony charge of taking a controlled substance into jail and a misdemeanor charge of driving while under the influence. She was sentenced to 180 days in the Crook County Detention Center for the misdemeanor, with credit for 180 days served.

On the felony count, Vinson was given a suspended sentence of between two and three years in a state penal institution with credit for 192 days served. She was also given a $300 fine for the misdemeanor, a $750 fine for the felony and ordered to reimburse the county $7792.08 for medical costs.


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