Two children were taken into protective custody from a man and woman who were arrested for child endangerment with methamphetamine early Monday, according to Natrona County Circuit Court records.

Lowell Ernie Hawkes and Naomi Nicole Lovato each were charged with misdemeanor possession of methamphetamine and two counts of child endangerment with methamphetamine.

Conviction of child endangerment with methamphetamine is a felony punishable by up to five years of imprisonment.

The case began at 12:20 a.m. when police officers stopped a car for failing to use a turn signal when it turned onto North Beech Street from F Street, according to the police affidavit.

An officer smelled what seemed to be marijuana from inside the car when the driver, Hawkes, rolled down the front window. The officer asked him to step outside the car.

Hawkes said he went to Walmart to get some diapers for his 1-year-old daughter, and he was driving around the block until she fell asleep. He did not want officers to awaken his 8-year-old daughter in the back seat because he said she had separation anxiety.

Hawkes added he had given a ride to a man from Walmart to Evansville, and that man may have had marijuana in his possession.

The officer began a search of the vehicle, and "opened the driver's side front door and observed a giant mess" of trash and personal items. Three females -- Lovato and the two girls -- were in the back seat and that area had trash, moldy food, and dirty clothing.

The officer asked Lovato to exit the car and stand by Hawkes.

The officers searched the car after another officer arrived on scene. One officer saw a black bag for Similac, and inside that was a small jeweler's bag with suspected methamphetamine, which weighed 1.6 grams. They also found shake amounts of suspected marijuana on the driver's seat, and two dispensary bags with marijuana residue in a backpack.

Officers arrested Hawkes and Lovato.

They also contacted the Wyoming Department of Family Services. One officer took protective custody of the children and turned them over to a DFS agent.

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