Woman denies drug possession, evidence tampering

Thursday, February 13, 2020
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A Livingston woman has denied multiple charges stemming from a traffic stop in Columbus that yielded methamphetamine, marijuana, Narcan, syringes and drug paraphernalia.

Rebecca Ann Odom, 37, appeared in 22nd Judicial District Court last week and pleaded not guilty to felony counts of criminal possession of dangerous drugs, tampering/fabricating evidence and misdemeanor counts of possession of drugs, drug paraphernalia, driving without insurance and driving with expired registration.

The felony tampering charge is related to Odom allegedly erasing the information off of her cell phone before police could save it.

She previously posted a $10,000 bond and will be allowed to remain free pending the resolution of the case, under court-imposed conditions.

Those include a 10 p.m. curfew unless working. Odom works at a bar and was given permission to keep that job, although a standard rule of release orders is to refrain from alcohol and bars.

THE CASE

According to court documents, Odom was pulled over for having expired license plates on Oct. 23, 2019, by Columbus Police Officer Jason Ferguson. Odom said the vehicle belonged to a neighbor in Livingston, who she had just dropped off at the Rimrock Foundation in Billings.

While speaking with Odom, Officer Ferguson noticed several pine tree-shaped air fresheners hanging from the rear view mirror. There was a pungent order “masked by perfume-like odor coming from the vehicle. The officer knew that people engaged in illegal drug use will often try to mask odors. A check of Odom’s history revealed she had been charged with drugs and drug paraphernalia possession previously. Odom said that her only arrest had come years earlier for minor in possession, according to court documents.

Officer Ferguson observed that Odom was having trouble maintaining eye contact with him “and was very quick and jittery in her movements.” Due to that, along with her deceptiveness about prior drug activity, she was asked to step out of the car. When asked if there were drugs in the car, Odom said “not that I’m aware of,” and said her purse was the only thing in the car that belonged to her. A K-9 team responded and indicated the presence of illegal drugs in the car. During the time, a member of the Missouri River Drug Task Force based in Gallatin County was contacted and told local lawmen that Odom was suspected of drug distribution, according to court documents.

Officers began to impound the car pending a search warrant when Odom became upset because she was not allowed to retrieve her purse. Stillwater County Sheriff’s Deputy Cactus Anderson, who had responded to assist, told Odom he could only retrieve the purse if she would allow them to search it. Odom said she only wanted her wallet from the purse, but did not want the purse searched, according to court documents. Her wallet was given to her after it was searched.

The car was towed and when a search was conducted, the following items were found inside of Odom’s purse: a 4 gram dose of Narcan (used to reverse the effects and prevent death during opiate overdoses), 5.7 grams of methamphetamine, 3.4 grams of marijuana and notepads and pieces of paper with names, addresses, dollar amounts and numbers written on them. On the back cover of the notepad were the words “Becky IOU u owe me Book,” according to court documents.

Found in a backpack in the car were a glass meth pipe with burned and white residue, a bent spoon, four unpackaged syringes, a shot glass with residue, a green plastic tube with residue, a blood vile and 1 gram of methamphetamine, according to court documents.

Additionally, when Officer Ferguson attempted to turn Odom’s cell phone onto airplane mode and then off to prevent the loss of any electronic evidence, the screen flashed and displayed the words “Erasing.” Moments later, the phone was back to factory settings and had been successfully wiped remotely, according to court documents.