Couple facing child endangering charge rearrested

Posted 6/6/23

A Powell couple charged with exposing their child to fentanyl in April were rearrested last week, after they allegedly used drugs while out on bond.

Makala A. Butz, 25, and Ashton L. Wollam, 26, …

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Couple facing child endangering charge rearrested


A Powell couple charged with exposing their child to fentanyl in April were rearrested last week, after they allegedly used drugs while out on bond.

Makala A. Butz, 25, and Ashton L. Wollam, 26, had been free since late April and early May, respectively, as they awaited further proceedings on a charge of child endangering. However, Wollam was arrested on May 28 in Basin after a preliminary drug test showed he had amphetamines in his system, police say; Butz, who is pregnant, was arrested May 30 in Powell after a test indicated she’d ingested fentanyl.

On Thursday, after prosecutors moved to revoke her bond, Butz pleaded guilty to her pending child endangering charge. A proposed plea deal calls for Butz to receive five years of supervised probation and to undergo mandatory drug treatment, said Deputy Park County Attorney Laura Newton; a three- to five-year prison sentence would be suspended under the proposal, Newton said.

The deal will be presented to Park County District Court Judge Bill Simpson at an as-yet-to-be scheduled sentencing hearing. In the meantime, Butz is being held in the Park County Detention Center.

Wollam also remained in custody on Monday, held in lieu of $5,000 bail at the Big Horn County Detention Center. He’s facing a misdemeanor charge of using a controlled substance for his alleged drug use in Basin last week. Wollam has pleaded not guilty to the charge as well as April’s count of child endangering.

At the time of the couple’s initial April 18 arrest, the Wyoming Division of Criminal Investigation said they had evidence that Wollam and Butz had stored and used fentanyl in the downtown Powell apartment they were sharing with their toddler.

Wollam reportedly told DCI that he’d acquired 300-400 fentanyl pills between late March and early April, but that he wasn’t keeping the drugs in his home, charging documents say. However, after Wollam returned to his apartment, a witness spotted him tossing a bag of items onto a nearby roof.

Inside the bag, DCI agents found drug paraphernalia, a small amount of suspected meth and two baggies of apparent fentanyl tablets, charging documents say. Inside the house, a small baggie of meth was found in the master bedroom and an apparent fentanyl tablet was found in a clothes hamper outside the child’s room.

Additionally, DCI agents recovered a burnt piece of foil from the toddler’s room that appeared to contain a melted and partially consumed fentanyl tablet; the foil was stuck to the back of a rocking chair and, DCI Special Agent Shane Reece wrote, “well within the access of the minor child.”

Butz allegedly told authorities that she knew Wollam was using drugs in the home, but said she was not, because she is pregnant. However, at Butz’s initial court appearance in April, Deputy Park County Attorney Larry Eichele said DCI recovered a cellphone video that showed both Butz and Wollam “smoking in the presence of their child.”

“So this is a grave concern to us regarding the child present with fentanyl, given the dangers,” Eichele said.

The child was taken into protective custody.

Butz posted a $20,000 surety bond and was released April 28; Wollam did the same on May 10. Both were ordered to obey the law and to limit their contact with one another to meetings sanctioned by the Wyoming Department of Family Services.

However, Butz “used fentanyl with Ashton Wollam in Basin on May 27,” according to an affidavit from Powell Police Officer Kevin Bennett that was used to support the revocation of her bond.

A separate affidavit says one of Wollam’s family members reported he’d been smoking drugs on May 28. Basin Police Officer Scott Drewry says he found Wollam in front of the family member’s home, writing that the suspect “displayed the objective signs of being under the influence of a controlled substance.” A subsequent urine sample “indicated a presumptive ‘positive’ for the presence of amphetamine,” Drewry wrote, and Wollam was arrested.

Butz was similarly arrested on May 30 after she tested presumptive positive for fentanyl during a random drug test, charging documents say. Both are awaiting further proceedings.

The couple reportedly came to DCI’s attention during an investigation of 27-year-old Victoria Zupko, who allegedly tried to receive a shipment of roughly 10,000 fentanyl pills and a pound of meth at her Powell home in March. As DCI followed up on the case, interviewed Zupko and combed through her phone, agents determined she had acquired fentanyl from Wollam and Butz “when she was out or in need.”

Zupko is being prosecuted in U.S. District Court, on felony counts of conspiracy to distribute fentanyl and meth and of unlawfully using the U.S. Postal Service to facilitate a felony drug offense. She was formally indicted last month and pleaded not guilty to the two counts on Friday.

Zupko was briefly released last week to attend a funeral, but was ordered to report back to federal custody Friday night. A trial is tentatively set to start July 10.