Update: This story has been updated to reflect a Monday evening interview with the Park County Sheriff's Office spokesman, who said higher charges are coming for Adam Aviles Jr.
Bigger, federal gun charges are on the way for the ex-boyfriend of a missing Cody woman, after Park County authorities dropped lesser charges against the man Monday afternoon.
Adam Aviles Jr., 26, the ex-boyfriend of Katie Ferguson, who has been missing for about a month, was jailed Wednesday and charged Thursday with misdemeanor charges of methamphetamine possession and taking his dad’s truck without permission.
If convicted and sentenced, each charge could have brought up to one year in jail and $1,000 in fines. Aviles was scheduled Monday to have his initial hearing in Cody Circuit Court, but the case was dismissed without prejudice at the last minute. Without prejudice means the prosecutor can bring the charges again if the evidence compels him.
He remains in jail at the Park County Detention Center - and he's facing an imminent, heavier charge from federal authorities, Monte McClain, Public Information Officer for the Park County Sheriff's Office, told Cowboy State Daily late Monday.
“We dropped the local charges. We used those to hold him ‘til the big charges came out,” said McClain. “His charges have escalated to the point that a misdemeanor ticket of unauthorized (truck) use is a moot point. It would actually delay the furtherance of justice in trying to get this taken care of.”
A federal court is charging Aviles Jr. with being a felon in possession of a firearm or ammunition, McClain added. The charge is punishable by up to 15 years in prison and $250,000 in fines, per count. McClain wasn't sure Monday night how many counts Aviles Jr. faces, but said authorities found "numerous rounds" of ammunition in his possession.
Aviles’ father, Adam Aviles Sr., declined to discuss the case.
Ferguson’s family members in recent days have posted alerts to their social media, asking the public to be on the lookout for her or evidence of her disappearance.
Ferguson was traveling in early October from Alabama, where her mother lives, back to Cody where she’d lived recently, along with her ex-boyfriend Aviles Jr. and her two young daughters.
Aviles Jr. and the little girls made it back to Cody in mid-October.
Ferguson did not.
Over the weekend, authorities added one more entry to Aviles’ two criminal charges on his jail booking profile. The new charge simply reads: “warrant service.”
Get These Drugs Out Of Here
Aviles Jr. was staying at his dad’s home prior to Nov. 6, according to an evidentiary affidavit filed Nov. 9 in Cody Circuit Court.
The father met with Sheriff Darrell Steward Nov. 6 at the Cody Law Enforcement Center. He was “very upset” and said his son and two granddaughters, ages 4 years and 11 months, had been living with him in his Cody home.
Aviles Sr. went out hunting and came home the night of Nov. 5 to find his home in disarray, the affidavit says. It adds that he went downstairs to shower and found a razor blade with methamphetamine, and a water pipe used to smoke the meth sitting on the bathroom sink.
He grew angry, threw the things away and started cleaning his house, says the document. He allegedly found a needle and syringe and about a half-gram of meth on a shelf in the upstairs bathroom.
“(He) then knew that Aviles Jr. was using drugs again,” Steward related in the affidavit.
Aviles Jr. has a past felony conviction for heroin possession, and various other past criminal cases.
Smashing The Syringe
The father smashed all the drug items and threw them in the trash, then told Aviles Jr. he was no longer welcome in the home, says the affidavit.
The son asked if he could borrow money and use his dad’s grey 2000 Chevrolet truck.
The dad said no to both requests, adding that last time he gave Aviles Jr. money, the son had apparently used it to buy drugs, the document relates.
Aviles Jr. then asked if he could go downstairs and get his long pants since it was cold and he was wearing shorts. The dad said he could do that, but the dad followed the son downstairs.
“Aviles Jr. was obviously looking for the controlled substances Aviles Sr. had disposed of,” Steward related from his interview with the father.
Aviles Sr. then told his son he’d thrown the drugs away.
A Tank Of Gas
Aviles Sr. gave his son a ride to the area of the Buffalo Bill “Scout” statue near the hospital and dropped him off. About 90 minutes later, the dad went to the law enforcement center for the interview quoted in the affidavit.
Steward asked Aviles Sr. where his Chevy truck was.
The father said it was still parked in front of his home.
The sheriff asked if he was sure of that and gave the dad a ride to his home. The truck was gone, the affidavit says.
The document says Cody Police Detective Scott Burlingame later found that Aviles Jr. had gone to Main Street KT’s in Cody, charging 27.7 gallons of fuel to his dad’s account and making other charges.
But police couldn’t find Aviles Jr. or the truck that day.
Joined by two agents from the Wyoming Division of Criminal Investigation, law enforcement personnel kept searching through Nov. 8, when they executed a search warrant related to Aviles Jr.’s “activities in Cody” and Aviles Sr.’s home.
Aviles Sr. showed police where he’d found the drugs. Agents also discovered a needle and syringe located in a pair of jeans — allegedly Aviles Jr.’s — on a dining room chair, and a small cloth bag containing a glass smoking pipe and meth residue in a barbecue grill.
The agents and the sheriff were getting ready to leave the dad’s home. But just then, Aviles Sr. received a call from his ex-wife. She reportedly said Aviles Jr. was at her home, wanting to turn himself in to law enforcement.
Steward went to the woman’s home in Cody. Aviles Jr. came outside to surrender, saying he had no weapons, says the document.
Steward asked where the truck was.
It was a long way away, the son replied, according to the affidavit.
Steward read Aviles Jr. his Miranda rights and handcuffed him.
The affidavit says Aviles Jr. declined to talk without an attorney.
Police later found the truck, backed in near a building on County Road 2AB north of Cody.
Cody Circuit Court Judge Jospeh Darrah originally set a $10,000 cash-only bond to hold Aviles Jr.
Clair McFarland can be reached at Clair@CowboyStateDaily.com.