A woman found with a felony quantity of meth while digging holes at the base of Cedar Mountain in the spring of 2018 has been sentenced to three years supervised probation by Park County District Court Judge Bill Simpson.
Nearly three years after the crime was committed, Tonya Lara has shown a transformation in her lifestyle and choices, employed at a full-time job and refraining from committing any probation violations following the incident.
“It’s been 33 months since the offense occurred,” Lara said in district court. “I’m on a much better path now.”
Lara pleaded guilty to possessing a controlled substance in an amount larger than three grams. A misdemeanor charge for interference with a peace officer was dismissed with prejudice per her plea deal.
Bureau of Land Management rangers first came across Lara and a man in May 2018 digging holes near the parking area of Cedar Mountain. They also saw a red Dodge truck parked nearby. Four or five rocks were in the truck’s bed.
“It is my training and experience as a law enforcement ranger that individuals engaged in this type of behavior are searching for artifacts or items of cultural significance,” BLM Ranger Robert Lind wrote in the court affidavit.
Lind said he made contact with the pair to see if this were the case, but ended up finding much more.
When Lara went to the truck to get identification, Lind spotted a small cardboard container with a straw and razor blade and a small greenish container with a baggy on top, inside the vehicle.
When Lind inquired about the items, he said Lara grabbed and threw them “as if you would throw a Frisbee,” narrowly missing his face.
Lara then tried to run away, but Lind was able to grab her from behind. After she was apprehended, the rangers found more meth on Lara. In total, 6.9 grams were found in her possession, well above the three-gram threshold for misdemeanor possession.
“You’ve obviously struggled with some of these issues,” Simpson said to Lara. “But you’ve done a remarkable job because you stayed clean and sober. This is your new life of sobriety.”