October 26, 2023 |

Photo – October 20th traffic stop on I-80 – Courtesy Wyoming Highway Patrol

Two out-of-state men were charged with felony possession of a controlled substance after a Wyoming Highway Patrol traffic stop near Rawlins.

Around 9:00 pm on Friday, October 20, 51-year-old Jason Darrell Graves, of Alpena Carroll, Arkansas, and 61-year-old Clell Leslie Messamore, of Sacramento, California, were pulled over by Wyoming Highway Patrol Trooper Kolton Carbon at mile marker 321, In his written affidavit, Trooper Carbon said the suspects were driving a black Honda Pilot with California plates. The trooper said he initiated a traffic stop after noticing the vehicle driver’s side headlight was not working.

In court documents, Trooper Carbon said the suspects took a long time to pull over, traveling over a mile before finally stopping. Trooper Carbon said he was able to clearly see a glass bulbous pipe containing a white powdery substance while the driver, Jason Graves, was retrieving the vehicle’s registration from the glove box.

The court documents say that Trooper Carbon was able to identify the pipe as the type typically used to smoke methamphetamine. Trooper Carbon had Graves and his passenger, Clell Messamore, exit the vehicle.

The highway patrol trooper placed Graves under arrest and searched him for contraband, allegedly finding multiple knives on the suspect.

Trooper Carbon then searched Messamore and allegedly found evidence that indicated he had swallowed a controlled substance. An ambulance was called to the scene to evaluate Messamore, but the suspect allegedly refused treatment. Messamore was also placed under arrest.

During the traffic stop, troopers also discovered that the black Honda Pilot was reported stolen from Sacramento, California.

Wyoming Highway Patrol Public Information Specialist Trooper Ryan Gerdes said both men were seen in Carbon County Circuit Court on Monday. Trooper Gerdes said the two men are charged with possession of a controlled substance. Gerdes said Graves faces a litany of additional charges related to last Friday’s traffic stop.

The two suspects were secured a nearby patrol vehicle. Trooper Carbon proceeded to search the Honda Pilot. In his written statement, Trooper Carbon said he found multiple glass bulbous pipes containing residue and several syringes in the suspect’s vehicle. Behind the passenger seat, Trooper Carbon said he found a fanny pack containing a clear plastic baggy with a large amount of a crystal-like substance, thought to be methamphetamine.

Trooper Carbon said the combined weight of the suspected meth was 38 grams. Public Relations Specialist Trooper Gerdes said Highway Patrol must wait for a lab to remove the suspected drugs from the baggies before verifying the actual weight.

According to Wyoming statute 35-7-1031, possession of a controlled substance in power or crystal form greater than three grams is a felony.

Trooper Gerdes said responding officers needed to be extremely cautious when handling the baggie in case it contained fentanyl.

In Trooper Carbon’s written affidavit, he said a further search of the vehicle yielded multiple burglary tools, including hammers, screw drivers, a cordless saw, and a Slim Jim, which is commonly used for breaking into vehicles.

Along with the suspected drugs and burglary tools, Trooper Carbon allegedly found an FI Industries .380 handgun in the vehicle. After conducting a criminal background check on the two men, Trooper Carbon discovered that both Graves and Messamore are convicted felons prohibited from possessing firearms.

In court documents, Trooper Carbon said he interviewed Messamore who said he had used meth in the car, but that the drugs belonged to Graves, the driver. Messamore allegedly told Trooper Carbon that Graves told him he was planning on selling the drugs in Arkansas. Messamore also allegedly said that the gun belonged to Graves.

Jason Graves is charged with felony possession of a controlled substance, specifically methamphetamine, possession with intent to deliver, theft of the Honda Pilot, possession of burglar’s tools, felon in possession of a firearm, driving with a suspended license, and having a head light out.

If found guilty of all seven charges, Graves could face a maximum of 41 years in prison.

Messamore was charged with felony possession of methamphetamine and could receive up to seven years in prison.

Both suspects are being held in the Carbon County Jail. Graves has a $30,000 cash bail. Messamore’s bail is set at $5,000.

A call to the Carbon County Circuit Court yesterday afternoon indicated that neither man had posted bail.

Both Graves and Messamore are due in Circuit Court on November 1st.

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