Felon denies multiple drug, tampering charges

By: 
Marlo Pronovost
Thursday, June 27, 2019
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A man already on probation from a prior drug case has denied four felony offenses involving more drugs.

Brian P. Taylor, 33, appeared in district court in Columbus last Thursday.

Stillwater County Attorney Nancy Rohde pointed out the case involves three different types of drugs — methamphetamine, methadone and hydrocodone. The tampering charge is based on Taylor allegedly putting two baggies of suspected methamphetamine in a fountain drink prior to the search of a vehicle.

Taylor was arrested and posted $25,000 bond prior to his court appearance last Thursday. He was allowed to remain free pending the resolution of the case, but was ordered by 22nd Judicial District Judge Matt Wald to abide by a 10 p.m. curfew unless working and submit to drug testing twice a week.

According to the Montana Department of Corrections, Taylor is currently on probation for a felony drug case committed in Yellowstone County, for which he received a 3-year deferred sentence in 2017.

Andrew Askeland, 34, is also charged in the case with the same offenses, plus driving with a suspended license. Askeland appeared in court in April and pleaded not guilty to all charges. He was released from jail after posting a $15,000 bond in March.

Taylor and Askeland work together and Judge Wald has forbidden them to speak about the case to one another.

THE CASE

According to court documents, in March of 2019, Columbus Police Officer Jason Ferguson made a traffic stop shortly before 6 p.m. Askeland, who was driving, had a warrant for his arrest and was driving with a suspended license.

The officer noted that Askeland was “shaking uncontrollably as he tried to take a bite out of his burrito, and that his carotid artery was pulsing in his neck,” according to court documents.

Both Askeland and Taylor denied that there were any drugs in the vehicle. After another officer arrived on scene, a syringe was seen protruding from Taylor’s front pant pocket, which he gave to an officer and said it was used for methamphetamine, according to court documents. At that point, it was discovered that Taylor also had a pending arrest warrant. Although the driver repeatedly said that there was nothing illegal in the vehicle, he refused to give consent to have it searched. The car was impounded while officers sought a search warrant.

Found in the vehicle were two baggies of what was suspected to be meth in a nearly full fountain cup of soda in the center console. Also recovered from the vehicle were pills, a liquid bottle of methadone and a glass pipe, according to court documents.

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