Laramie Woman Denies Methamphetamine Charge
A woman who pleaded guilty in June to one count of marijuana possession denied a meth possession charge at her arraignment Tuesday in Albany County District Court.
Rae Rae Contreras, 34, could face up to five years in prison and a $5,000 fine if convicted of her third or subsequent offense of possession of methamphetamine. Judge Jeffrey Donnell set trial in the matter for Oct. 13-14.
Prosecutors allege that Contreras was found to be in possession of methamphetamine after an Albany County Sheriff's deputy recognized and stopped her vehicle June 23 on Interstate 80, based on the fact that Contreras had a warrant out for her arrest.
Court documents say the deputy approached the vehicle to find Contreras in the front passenger seat along with 37-year-old Frederick Harnden -- who pleaded guilty to one count of methamphetamine possession June 30 in District Court -- in the driver's seat.
Harnden was reportedly shaking uncontrollably and Contreras had a black bag evidently containing towels, according to the affidavit.
The deputy became suspicious that both Harnden and Contreras were under the influence of a controlled substance. He arrested Contreras on the outstanding warrant and took Harnden into custody for allegedly driving with a suspended license.
The affidavit says Harnden was "extremely concerned" that the vehicle would be searched and was adamant that his aunt or a friend come pick up the vehicle.
A deputy searched the vehicle and found a small bag of a white powdery substance believed to be methamphetamine located in the black bag that Contreras had on her lap. The deputy also reportedly found a syringe in the bag.
Contreras allegedly told police the bag belonged to her and the last time she used methamphetamine had been a week prior. She allegedly told police she got the methamphetamine from Harnden, and reportedly went on to say that Harnden injects methamphetamine with a syringe.
Court documents say both Harnden and Contreras have at least two prior convictions for possession of a controlled substance.
Contreras is being held on $10,000 bond, which Donnell declined to modify after defense attorney Candace Pisciotti's request for signature bond. Pisciotti said the state would likely dismiss the charge in exchange for Contreras' June 1 guilty plea to marijuana possession.
Prosecutor Kurt Britzius objected to Pisciotti's request, saying Contreras was arrested on this charge while out on bond in another criminal case. He also said Contreras' failure to appear in 2010 and her status as a fugitive in 2011 made her a flight risk.
Donnell said even if he modified her bond in the methamphetamine case, it wouldn't make much of a difference given her June 1 guilty plea.