Laramie Woman Admits to Felony Marijuana Possession
A woman entered a conditional guilty plea Tuesday in Albany County District Court nearly seven months after deputies went to her house looking for a gun and found ten pounds of marijuana.
Mitzi Dawn Welsbacher, 52, pleaded guilty on one count of felony possession of marijuana. She could face up to five years in prison and a $10,000 fine.
In exchange for her guilty plea, the state will dismiss a second count of possession with intent to deliver and recommend probation at sentencing.
Welsbacher was arrested Feb. 13 after Albany County Sheriff's deputies searched her home for a handgun that her husband, Shawn Welsbacher, allegedly used to threaten a group of people. During the initial search, deputies found "large bundles of what appeared to be marijuana in plain view, scales, stems and seeds from marijuana plants in the residence of the defendant and observed fluorescent lights in the outbuilding and electric running from the power line to the outbuilding," according to the affidavit.
Deputies later returned with another warrant allowing them to search the property for controlled substances and paraphernalia.
Court documents say the second search turned up a total of 10 pounds of marijuana, $1,057 cash in different envelopes in a safe along with five containers of marijuana, a gram of methamphetamine, paraphernalia with marijuana residue, a bag sealer and packaging, three cell phones and scales which were found in the master bedroom.
The affidavit also says the Welsbachers' son, Thomas, told deputies he knew his parents were selling marijuana out of their house.
Shawn Welsbacher on May 5 filed a motion to suppress evidence, later joined by Mitzi Welsbacher, on the grounds that the affidavit supporting the first search warrant was missing a signature, making the entire warrant invalid.
Donnell, after an evidentiary hearing and giving attorneys time to cite case law, denied the motion June 7. Welsbacher's conditional guilty plea means she can still appeal Donnell's ruling.
Shawn Welsbacher in August pleaded guilty to a felony possession charge stemming from the same incident.
In court Tuesday, Mitzi Welsbacher said the allegations were correct, to a certain point.
"It wasn't no ten pounds, your honor. It was more like five pounds," Welsbacher said. "We weren't selling it."
Welsbacher went on to say her husband brought it home one day. "He got it from some guy at the store."
"Was that Ridley's? Walmart?" Donnell asked.
Donnell told Welsbacher that she and her husband needed to get their stories straight, as some things they each said didn't add up.
"You know, your husband said that weed showed up and it was your fault," Donnell told Welsbacher, who maintained she was not the one who took the marijuana into the house.
"Must've been gremlins, huh?" Donnell said.
Welsbacher remains free on $15,000 cash or commercial bond pending sentencing.