Believing a friend had bugged his phone and eyeglasses, a Colorado man called Laramie County Sheriff’s office deputies on himself east of Cheyenne, Wyoming, then helped them find his cocaine and marijuana, court documents say.
Austin A. Stambene, 33, of Colorado Springs, now faces three criminal charges:
Cocaine possession, a felony punishable by up to seven years in prison and $15,000 in fines.
Marijuana possession, a misdemeanor (because less than 3 ounces of marijuana are implicated) punishable by up to one year in jail and $1,000 in fines.
Driving under the influence of drugs, punishable by up to six months in jail and $750 in fines.
Laramie County Assistant District Attorney Rocky Edmonds charged Stambene on Jan. 5, and his case rose to the felony-level Laramie County District Court on Tuesday.
Someone’s Bugging My Eyeglasses
Stambene called law enforcement at 6:41 a.m. Jan. 4 from the intersection of Aztec Drive and Christensen Road in Cheyenne to report a threat. Stambene said someone was “bugging” his vehicle and making threats, says an evidentiary affidavit filed in his case.
Laramie County Sheriff’s Deputy Jason Grover went to the area and found Stambene in the driver’s seat of a 2002 Lexus ES with Colorado plates, and the motor running.
Stambene said a friend from Colorado Springs was harassing him about his late mother, who died 10 years ago. The friend started “bugging” Stambene’s phone, wallet, clothing and eyeglasses, Stambene reportedly claimed.
Stambene told Grover that he got new glasses, threw his wallet away and got his cellphone debugged, the affidavit relates.
Grover asked for Stambene’s driver’s license.
Stambene reportedly pulled his license from within a handful of dollar bills. His pupils were constricted, and he seemed nervous, the affidavit says.
Grover asked Stambene if he knew where he was.
“Cheyenne, Wyoming,” answered Stambene, adding that he didn’t know anyone in Cheyenne but had to get away from his friend in Colorado Springs.
No Alcohol, Just Cocaine
Grover asked Stambene if he’d had any alcohol or drugs before driving to Cheyenne.
Stambene said he didn’t drink alcohol, but had used cocaine the prior evening back in Colorado Springs.
Grover ran Stambene through field sobriety tests “to make sure he would be safe to operate a motor vehicle,” the deputy wrote. But Stambene struggled with the tests.
Stambene allegedly said that on his way to Cheyenne, he stopped in Fort Collins for a few hours and there smoked cocaine and marijuana simultaneously.
Then he rolled up to the Walmart on Livingston Avenue in Cheyenne and waited for it to open; he bought a few things and kept driving, the affidavit says.
Here You Go
“Austin told me there was cocaine in his jacket pocket,” Grover wrote later. “Austin said he had marijuana in the trunk of the vehicle too.”
Stambene gave Grover and another deputy permission to search the vehicle, the affidavit claims.
The document says Stambene even helped the deputies find the drugs by describing the black jar the marijuana was in, in a box in the trunk, and helping deputies locate the black jar.
“Austin told Deputy Martinez there was a Ziplock bag under the box with more green leafy substance in it and helped him locate it in the trunk,” wrote Grover.
Grover put Stambene in handcuffs while Deputy Martinez kept pulling drugs from the vehicle, the affidavit says.
Then Stambene reportedly consented to have his blood drawn, and Grover took him to the Cheyenne Regional Medical Center for that.
Meanwhile, Martinez tested and weighed 13 grams of suspected cocaine and 6 grams of suspected marijuana from Stambene’s vehicle.
Cocaine possession is a felony when the drug’s weight exceeds 3 grams in powder form.
Marijuana possession is a misdemeanor, as in this case, when the drug’s weight is fewer than 3 ounces in plant form.
Stambene’s case is ongoing.
Clair McFarland can be reached at Clair@CowboyStateDaily.com.