Woman arrested for child neglect after drugs allegedly found in stroller, diaper bag

BUCKHANNON – An Upshur County woman was arrested this week after allegedly possessing fentanyl in close proximity to her infant son during an incident in late June.

Kiara D. Casto, 21, of Buckhannon, was arrested for unlawful possession of fentanyl and child neglect creating risk of serious bodily injury, both felonies.

According to the criminal complaint in the Upshur County Magistrate Clerk’s Office filed by investigating officer Patrolman James Fisher with the Buckhannon Police Department, on June 26, 2021, Fisher and Cpl. Marshall O’Connor, also with the BPD, received a welfare-check call regarding two people appearing to be intoxicated while reportedly pushing a baby stroller in front of the Huddle House. The officers arrived on scene and found two people matching this description standing in front of the Comfort Inn & Suites, adjacent to the Huddle House.

According to the report, when the officers initially approached them, the two people – one male and one female – reportedly separated and walked in opposite directions. O’Connor followed the male individual, and Fisher stayed with the female. The female identified herself as Kiara Casto, and when Fisher asked her if she had anything on her, she allegedly began to act “fidgety” and said no, the complaint says.

Police discovered a capias had been issued for the male individual, and he was arrested and placed in O’Connor’s cruiser.

At some point during the incident, Casto walked into the Comfort Inn to use the restroom, and after she emerged, a hotel employee allegedly brought out what appeared to be burned aluminum foil with drug residue on it from the women’s restroom, the report says. Then, while holding her one-year-old son, Casto allegedly shoved what appeared to be more drug paraphernalia down her pants. The report says Casto refused to cooperate with police until the male who had been placed under arrest “told her to listen,” according to the file.

O’Connor instructed Casto to remove everything from her pockets and pants, and when she did, O’Connor immediately identified what she pulled out as heroin stamps, “which are known to contain fentanyl,” the report states. At the time, the stamps appeared to no longer contain any controlled substances. The male who had been arrested told the officers that, “everything was his and he just gave it to her,” Fisher wrote in the report.

The officers subsequently conducted a probable cause search of the stroller and a shopping buggy, which allegedly yielded more drug paraphernalia and a small amount of marijuana. Foil with drug paraphernalia was also located in a diaper bag stuffed in between diapers, as well as in the baby stroller. Vape pens, which the male under arrest said contained THC, were located in a black backpack, which was placed in the shopping cart.

After transporting the male subject to a regional jail, O’Connor and Fisher conducted further investigation of the heroin stamps but found that only four of the heroin stamps turned over contained a “usable” amount of the controlled substance. A field-test of that substance from one of the stamps showed a positive indication for the “probable substance of methamphetamine” with an alternate “probable substance of fentanyl” result, according to the police report.

Upshur County Magistrate Alan Suder set bail at $15,000 cash only.

The penalty for a conviction of unlawful possession of fentanyl is confinement in the state penitentiary for not less than two, nor more than 10 years, while the penalty for child neglect creating risk of serious bodily injury is confinement in a state prison for not less than one, nor more than five years, a fine between $1,000 and $3,000 or both.

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