Man Admits to Liquid Heroin Possession After Wyoming Traffic Stop
A Denver man faced with four charges of felony drug possession admitted to having liquid heroin in his car as part of a plea deal which would see the other three charges dropped.
Jason Alexander Koste, 42, pleaded guilty on a charge of possession of liquid heroin Monday in Albany County District Court. He faces a maximum sentence of seven years and a $15,000 fine.
The plea deal includes no sentencing recommendation on the part of the prosecution, but does call for the state to drop the three other felony charges -- possession of liquid THC, possession of liquid THC with intent to deliver and possession of heroin -- and a total of six misdemeanors -- largely traffic violations and a misdemeanor DUI -- brought against Koste after an Aug. 25 traffic stop on Interstate 80.
Court documents say a Wyoming Highway Patrol trooper saw a 2006 BMW 530 without a driver-side mirror cross the fog line multiple times as it drove eastbound on I-80 near mile post 310.
The trooper arrested the driver, Koste, for driving while under the influence of a controlled substance, according to the trooper's affidavit.
When he searched the vehicle, the trooper allegedly found 5.2 grams of heroin in solid form, three syringes loaded with suspected heroin, a digital scale, multiple jeweler baggies with suspected heroin, 28.6 grams of hash oil and several boxes of baggie both opened and unopened.
The affidavit says Koste, during a police interview, admitted that he drove from Denver, Colo. to Lander in order to sell the hash oil. He also allegedly said he sold about three grams of hash oil while in Lander.
Court documents also say Koste, during the Aug. 25 traffic stop, admitted to having heroin in his car -- a charge which Koste denied in court Monday.
"There are some facts that are not true," Koste told Judge Jeffrey Donnell. "I did not tell the officer that there was heroin in the car."
Koste also said he drove to Lander to see an old girlfriend, not to sell drugs. He told Donnell he bought the liquid THC from a Denver dispensary, and that he had three grams of liquid heroin for personal use.
"That's quite an assortment," remarked Donnell.
Koste said he has been through drug treatment programs multiple times.
Defense attorney David Korman asked the court to modify Koste's $20,000 cash bond to a signature bond, as Koste did not have access to $20,000.
Korman identified Koste's Denver roommate, who was present in court Monday in the hopes of signing for Koste's release.
But the roommate said his net worth was well below $20,000 and would not be able to come up with the money should Koste violate his bond. He also said he needed Koste to be released so he could help pay rent.
Donnell highlighted the fact that Koste had the money to allegedly buy drugs -- an amount Koste estimated at $600-$700 -- but could not access the amount needed to post bail.
"That's a matter of prioritization, isn't it?" Donnell said.
Donnell ultimately agreed with the objection of prosecutor Kurt Britzius, who said Koste -- having just pleaded guilty to a felony and having no ties to Wyoming -- presented a flight risk and could relapse without supervision.
"There's nothing to keep him here, there's nothing to bring him back here," Donnell said.
Koste remains in custody on $20,000 cash bond. A sentencing date will be set pending completion of the pretrial investigation report.