An Allegany County woman is facing drug-related charges following a traffic stop in which she was allegedly found in possession of more than 100 bags of fentanyl, according to the Livingston County Sheriff’s Office.
The investigation began following a Nov. 19, 2020, traffic stop about 9 p.m. on Interstate 390 by Sgt. Matthew Thomas who was assigned to the Sheriff’s Office Operation Safe Interstate Initiative and stopped the vehicle after observing an alleged violation of the state Vehicle and Traffic Law.
The operator of the vehicle was identified as Robert E. Bowker Jr, 44, from Scio. A passenger in the vehicle was identified as Lori A. Bowker, 40, from Scio. During the stop, the Sergeant did suspect the occupants to be involved in drug activity, prompting him to initiate a roadside drug investigation.
The roadside investigation revealed that Lori Bowker was in possession of 102 individually packaged baggies of suspected Fentanyl, and an additional baggie containing suspected methamphetamine, the Sheriff’s Office said.
Lori Bowker was released on scene, pending the lab results, and the suspected drugs were sent to a forensic lab for testing.
Robert Bowker was issued a traffic ticket for a violation of state Vehicle and Traffic Law and released.
Assisting on scene for the Sheriff’s Office was Deputy Jerry Pilkenton.
Lori Bowker was arrested June 4 by Thomas and charged with third-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance, a class B felony; and two counts of seventh-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance. Lab results did return positive for fentanyl and methamphetamine, the Sheriff’s Office said.
Lori Bowker was turned over to Central Booking deputies at Livingston County Jail for processing and pre-arraignment detention. The District Attorney’s Office was contacted in regards to bail due to the felony-level charges. It was recommended that Lori Bowker be released on her own recognizance as the charges did not qualify for bail under the state Justice Reform Act.
Lori Bowker was later arraigned at Livingston County Centralized Arraignment Part at Livingston County Jail before Town of Caledonia Justice Mark Riggi, who did release Lori on her own recognizance, per the law, to return to court at a later date.
The Livingston County Public Defender’s Office represented Lori Bowker at the arraignment. The Livingston County District Attorney’s Office was notified but did not appear to represent the people.
“It is a sad state of affairs in New York State when an elected Judge has no discretion to hold or set bail on a person accused of committing a B felony for possessing over one hundred bags of fentanyl,” Livingston County Sheriff Thomas J. Dougherty said in a statement. “We need to bring back common sense and return judicial discretion to our elected Judges.”