A Stevensville man has been charged with possessing drugs obtained when he was allegedly the sidekick to a prescription drug thief.

Shaun Elbert Welty, 33, pleaded not guilty to felony drug possession Wednesday in Ravalli County District Court after having been arrested on a warrant in the Missoula County Detention Center on March 13.

According to court records, Welty was interviewed on Feb. 2 in connection with a burglary in Victor, but at the time deputies were focused on Welty’s friend, Nicholas Riley.

Welty told investigators that on Dec. 2, he and Riley had driven to a home in Victor that belonged to a man that Riley described as an uncle.

Riley had told Welty that he would snag a few pills there, according to court documents.

Welty had conversed with the uncle outside while Riley went in the house, and then Riley and Welty left a short time later. They parked a short distance away and Riley allegedly gave Welty three pills of Oxycontin.

A short time later, they returned to the uncle’s house when the uncle wasn’t home. Riley allegedly broke in and came out with 23 60-milligram morphine pills, two of which he allegedly gave to Welty.

Deputies searched back through dispatch calls and found one from a Victor man who said someone had broken into his house and all his medicine cabinet doors were open.

Talking to the man, he said that Riley was like a nephew to him. He said Riley and Welty had visited him, volunteering to fix his computer. He said Riley left after being unable to help with the computer.

The man said he went out later, and when he came back, his front door had been broken into. He said he had several pill bottles of morphine but didn’t know if any were missing. But he said Riley had asked him for morphine in the past.

Riley was charged with burglary on Feb. 3 in that case.

Welty is linked to another crime allegedly involving Riley that occurred around the same time in Stevensville, according to court documents. Two women reported that their apartment had been broken into and a safe had been broken open. A valuable ring was stolen along with other jewelry and possibly some prescription drugs.

On Jan. 3, Stevensville Police Chief James Marble interviewed Welty about the burglary. Welty said he and Riley had broken into a residence and Riley had stolen a ring and pawned it. Welty said Riley was also looking for pills in the apartment.

After he was arrested, Riley admitted pawning a ring but claimed he found it. He also admitted that he often helped one of the women get her medication from the pharmacy but said he never went in her apartment.

Riley was charged with a second count of burglary in that case on Jan. 31.

Riley was given a $50,000 bail and Welty is being held on a $10,000 bail.

Reach reporter Laura Lundquist at 363-3300 or laura.lundquist@ravallirepublic.com.

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