Woman jailed after drugs sent from India to Torrington

TORRINGTON (WNE) — A Torrington woman remained in custody in the Goshen County Jail last week, facing felony drug charges stemming from a warrant search involving local and federal enforcement agencies.

Torrington Police Chief Timothy Hurd said Melody Dawn Boalch, 42, was arrested shortly after 11 a.m. Dec. 19 at a residence in the 1600 block of East F Street in Torrington when Torrington Police, assisted by officers from the federal Homeland Security, Drug Enforcement Agency, Postal Service and Customs and Board Protection executed a search warrant.

Hurd said Thursday the warrant netted more than 2,000, 100 milligram tablets of the opioid drug tapentadol, along with oxycodone and fentanyl. Information leading to the arrest resulted when U.S. Customs officials intercepted a package from India, bound for Torrington, Hurd said.

The tapentadol has a retail street value in excess of $2,500, Hurd said.

Boalch was jailed on felony possession of a Schedule II controlled substance, possession with intent to deliver of a Schedule II controlled substance and misdemeanor charges of child endangerment. As of Thursday afternoon, she was being held without bond in the Goshen County Jail, according to information on the Sheriff’s Department website.

Hurd praised the cooperation between his department and the various federal agencies involved which led to the arrest.

“I want enough people to we’re not going to tolerate this,” he said. “The public needs to know this stuff out there and we’re combating this.

“All the different federal agencies were great to us,” Hurd said. “When we work together, this is what happens.”


UW receives dementia grant

CASPER (WNE) — A University of Wyoming department and the school’s center on aging received an $866,453 federal grant to work with Albany County organizations to better help dementia patients and their caregivers.

The grant will last three years and is provided by the Administration for Community Living, a branch of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, according to a university press release sent earlier this month.

The grant will focus on three main groups, the school said: those with dementia; those with “intellectual and developmental disabilities who may have dementia or be high risk of developing” the disease; and those family members or adults caring for those with dementia.

The press release notes Wyoming’s aging population and the strong association between aging and dementia.

Wyoming’s aging population has been of particular concern to health officials here, who have warned that the state will need to prepare for more residents who need long-term care.

“Aging is the No. 1 risk factor for Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias,” Robin Barry, an assistant director in the psychology department, said in the release. “With an aging population, a greater proportion of our population is going to be diagnosed with some form of dementia. Our communities need to be ready to meet the needs of people with dementia.”

Barry — who will lead the project — and her team will provide counseling for those in early stages of dementia, connect with ongoing support for those living alone, training to health care providers and caregivers, and more education for community members and first responders to better spot dementia and connect those with the condition with the Alzheimer’s and Dementia Support Center.


Man sentenced to prison on sex offenses

GILLETTE (WNE) — A Gillette man who was previously convicted of sexual crimes against a young girl recently received a long prison sentences for new, similar offenses.

Joseph Lajeunesse, 34, who was convicted of two counts of first-degree sexual abuse after a three-day jury trial in August, was sentenced to 30 to 50 years in prison and fined $1,000 for each count.

Although the jury found Lajeunesse guilty of twice forcing a young girl to have sex with him, at his sentencing he professed his innocence and said he had been unduly influenced by his friend, Charles Mathisen, who is serving 45 years in federal prison for producing pornography of a young Gillette girl.

Twelve years ago, Lajeunesse was convicted of viewing 600 images of child pornography and downloading 200 images of child pornography, according to court documents. Many of the images were of adult men forcing young girls to have sex.

“For this case, I think the bottom line about a sentence is something I heard back when I was a public defender, that prison is not for somebody you’re mad at, but it’s for somebody you’re afraid of,” said Campbell County Attorney Ron Wirthwein at Lajeunesse’s sentencing.

Wirthwein recommended consecutive sentences of 35 to 50 years “given (Lajeunesse’s) history starting with child pornography images and culminating into the actual predation of a little girl.”

Defense attorney Bob O’Neil requested Lajeunesse receive concurrent sentences.


From Wyoming News Exchange newspapers