Missoula Couple Allegedly Sold and Used Drugs With a Child Present
On Tuesday, a Deputy U.S. Marshal located 29-year-old Yancey Benjamin at a residence in the 5900 block of Pinewood Lane in Missoula County. Yancy had an outstanding warrant for failing to report to his probation officer and also had an outstanding $20,000 District Court arrest warrant.
A Probation and Parole Officer responded to the location and knocked on the door. Yancy answered the door and was taken into custody. The probation officer entered the residence and located 34-year-old Ashlee Coyle, who was determined to be Yancy’s girlfriend, in the bathroom.
In the bathroom, the probation officer observed a small plastic baggie with pills inside, various clear glass pipes commonly used for smoking methamphetamine, and a spoon in the sink containing what appeared to be a crushed pill. Next to the toilet was a small black container which had two clear baggies of methamphetamine.
The probation officer alerted a Sheriff’s Deputy to the items he had observed in the residence. The deputy placed Coyle under arrest and advised her of her Miranda rights. Coyle waived her rights verbally and in writing and agreed to speak with officers.
Coyle explained that for the last 3 years Yancey, herself, and her 9-year-old daughter lived at Yancey's parent's home. Coyle advised that within the last several months, she allowed individuals to bring methamphetamine into her home. Coyle also admitted that she and Yancey were current meth users.
Coyle agreed to allow officers to search the residence, and executed a consent form. During the search, officers found approximately 21g of methamphetamine, four suboxone strips, and multiple prescriptions pills stored in various containers.
They also located hundreds of small baggies, ledgers detailing the sale of pills and meth, and the purchase of meth. The distribution notes include a reference that “we” had delivered drugs.
Coyle admitted to possessing the drug items and admitted her daily use to be around half a gram. She stated she smokes the meth, and that she often buys the pills as well when she can find them. She also stated she sells some of the meth and the pills to support her addiction.
Coyle appeared in Missoula Justice Court Thursday afternoon and Deputy County Attorney Carrie Garber provided the following statement.
“Based on all of that cooperative behavior and her lack of prior criminal history, although we do have concerns for the safety of the child, we believe that an own recognizance release is appropriate provided she is placed on pretrial supervision with active supervision and drug testing for the presence of illicit substances,” Garber said. “To the extent that there may be a child and family services matter, we would ask that she be required to comply with any conditions that they place on her with regards to the custody of the child.”
Coyle was released on her own recognizance and Yancy’s bond was set at $50,000. Coyle and Yancy were both charged with two counts of felony criminal possession with intent to distribute and felony endangering the welfare of a child.