Subletter Examiner | Plea deal reached in local drug possession case

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SUBLETTE COUNTY – A man arrested and charged with two counts of drug possession after being resuscitated with Narcan to reverse an overdose on August 6 has reached a plea deal and is expected to amend his pleas to not guilty on January 27 in 9and District court.

Warren J. Phillips, of Big Piney, had previous convictions for misdemeanor drug possession; the two additional misdemeanors of methamphetamine and buprenorphine possession from his August accident elevated the two new ones to felony status, according to court records.

On August 6, a deputy responded to a call about an unresponsive man in a Ford F150 near Highway 351 in Sagebrush and found Phillips unconscious; he began to breathe after the deputy performed CPR but remained unconscious.

Sublette EMS arrived and administered Narcan, a nasal spray used to reverse possible opiate overdoses, the affidavit states. Phillips returned soon after and was taken by ambulance to Pinedale Medical Clinic, where he recovered and was later questioned. Phillips said he didn’t understand or remember what happened.

Deputies took and tested several white pills and one cap of white powder came back “presumptive positive” for buprenorphine and methamphetamine respectively, the affidavit states. Buprenorphine is described as an opioid used to treat opioid addiction.

He was also charged with driving under the influence of a controlled substance and failing to follow his lane, according to court records.

His bail was set at $5,000 cash in Circuit Court and changed to $1,000 cash or bond in 9and District Court; Phillips was allowed to work with restrictions, according to court records.

The crimes of enhanced possession each carry a maximum penalty of five years in prison and $5,000 in fines; misdemeanors carry a maximum total of six months, 20 days in jail, and a $950 fine.

On December 2, the Sublette County District Attorney’s Office filed a motion to revoke and forfeit his bond after his November 19 urinalysis showed the presence of amphetamine, buprenorphine, methamphetamine, and norbuprenorphine; a week later, his sample showed norbuprenorphine and buprenorphine, according to court records.

A bail revocation hearing continued as Assistant District Attorney Clayton Melinkovich and public defender Rachel Weksler drafted a plea agreement, filed Jan. 7 in 9and District Court.

The plea change hearing is set for January 27 at 10 a.m.

The plea agreement stipulates that Phillips will plead guilty to one count of possession of methamphetamine and driving under the influence of a controlled substance. They will recommend a prison sentence of three to five years, all suspended for three years of supervised probation.

For the DUI charge, they will recommend additional probation and a terminal sentence of 60 days. That could be reduced to 30 days if Phillips requests and participates in the Sublette County Treatment Court. Judge Marv Tyler will be asked to dismiss the second criminal possession and driving offense.

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