Moorcroft Leader - The Voice of the Community Since 1909, Serving Moorcroft and Pine Haven, Wyoming

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State Briefs


June 27, 2019

Federal charges filed in case of meth found in dishwasher

GILLETTE (WNE) — Local charges have been dismissed against a man who faced drug charges after a pound of meth allegedly was found in his dishwasher in January. He has been indicted federally in the case.

Jeffrey Powell, 55, had pleaded not guilty in District Court to an enhanced charge of possession with intent to deliver meth, one with a longer sentence possible, because it was his second offense. He had been convicted in 1999 of a similar crime in Washington state, according to court documents.

That charge was dismissed earlier this month by District Judge Michael N. “Nick” Deegan because of a federal indictment against Powell.

Officers began investigating Powell’s home on Gold Road home after seeing several vehicles coming and going from the area. A deputy’s suspicions were aroused Jan. 16 while he was conducting a security check of Anytime Storage and he saw four vehicles come and go from the Gold Road home between 1:30 and 2:30 a.m.

As a deputy walked around the home, he heard people talking and smelled marijuana in the garage, according to court documents. No one answered when other deputies knocked on the door, which had a video camera doorbell.

After getting a search warrant, they found a blue measuring cup containing meth and a bag with 29 grams of meth on the top shelf of Powell’s closet. In the kitchen, they found another blue measuring cup containing meth, two digital scales, three fake $100 bills, a vacuum sealer and the 1.05 pounds of meth in a vacuum-sealed bag in the dishwasher, according to an affidavit of probable cause.

Stone tablet found near Rock Springs subject of TV show

EVANSTON (WNE) — A mysterious stone tablet discovered in southwest Wyoming nearly 80 years ago will be featured on a season 4 episode of The Travel Channel’s “America Unearthed” airing on Tuesday, June 25. 

A story appearing in the Uinta County Herald on Nov. 19, 1982, detailed the strange tablet’s mysterious origins. Discovered near Rock Springs in the 1940s by Lorene Bolen, who lived in Evanston in the 1980s, the small sandstone tablet was kept by Bolen as a “conversation piece.” 

Trying to discover both who carved the tablet and what its strange markings said, Bolen sent the tablet to both the University of Wyoming and the Smithsonian Institute in Washington, D.C.

The university returned the tablet and said the writing was possibly Scandinavian runes. The Herald reported Bolen said the Smithsonian doubted the tablet’s authenticity because of how recently the carvings had been made. 

However, Bolen then sent the tablet to the Epigraphic Society, whose members decipher old writing, and from there it was sent to Barry Fell, “a Harvard marine biologist turned amateur archaeologist.” 

Fell reportedly claimed the markings were a Cypriot script using a Hittitte-Minoan language and deciphered it as saying, “Keep safe, do not break the stone; Misfortune it turns away, it protects against evil, strikes harm and turns it aside.” 

Two expert archaeologists, however, were less than convinced by Fell’s claims, citing lack of any evidence to substantiate Fell’s theories of transatlantic settlers from Ireland, Spain and North Africa arriving on the eastern shores of the United States as early as 1200 B.C. 

Cody man accidentally shot with vintage pistol

CODY (WNE) — The bullet left the vintage pistol went through Cody resident Aryean Vermunt’s shoulder, exited and became lodged in the side of the cabin.

Vermunt was the victim of an accidental shooting Monday at Pahaska Teepee Resort, 2.3 miles outside of the Yellowstone East Entrance. His bleeding was under control by the time medics reached the scene.

Lance Mathess, Park County Sheriff’s Office public affairs officer, said Vermunt was transported by ambulance to West Park Hospital and then transferred across state lines to the Billings Clinic.

Emergency responders first received report of the accidental shooting around 2:10 p.m. Monday, according to the Sheriff’s Office investigation, it was determined Vermunt, 24, had been shot with a vintage World War II Tokarev pistol.

When fellow Pahaska employee Cal Clark, 59, of Thermopolis set his small backpack down on the porch of an employee building, the Russian semi-automatic pistol discharged, entering Vermunt’s right shoulder and then traveling on.

A sheriff’s deputy was immediately dispatched to the scene. No citations were issued from the incident.

Clark had just completed a long bike ride, when he stepped around Vermunt and “let his backpack fall off his shoulders” landing on the porch and causing the Tokarev to fire through the fabric of the side of the camouflaged colored backpack. Statements from witnesses corroborated Clark’s account of events.

Mathess said the Tokarev has a propensity to accidentally discharge, especially when dropped.


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