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MIDDLETOWN, Conn. – Police were searching for drugs when they forced their way into the apartment of Thomas Way and Kristin Augeri last month.

Along with the drugs, they found a cache of weapons, hundreds of dollars in cash and a video of the couple’s 3-year-old son holding a glass smoking pipe and a lighter, according to court documents

Way, 22, and Augeri, 23, have been charged with risk of injury to a minor. Way also was charged with possession of a stolen firearm, criminal possession of a pistol, failure to properly store a firearm and use of drug paraphernalia. Augeri also was charged with interfering with a search, resisting arrest and use of drug paraphernalia. Both were being held, with bail set at $150,000.

Two confidential informants told police that Way and Augeri had taken photographs of their young son smoking marijuana. They also told police the toddler “knew how to crush pills and roll dollar bills,” according to an arrest warrant. The couple was also suspected of dealing drugs.

Authorities used a search-and-seizure warrant to enter the home on Feb. 2, recovering the weapons, ammunition, marijuana, drug paraphernalia, blue pills later identified as Valium and a digital camera with the recording of the 3-year-old apparently trying to light the smoking pipe. A loaded handgun, an unloaded shotgun and $500 were found under a mattress that the boy was sitting on when police entered the apartment, court documents state.

Officers also were met by two pit bulls when they entered the room where they discovered Augeri and her son. Augeri ran to the door and tried to force it shut when officers approached, the warrant states.

Police later reviewed the video, which depicts the child holding a smoking pipe in his left hand and a lighter in the right, according to the warrant. The boy touches the lighter to the tip of the pipe and tries to ignite the lighter, the warrant states. Laughing heard in the background was probably coming from Augeri, who appeared to be holding the camera, police said.

But Way’s sister, Stephanie Way, said Thursday that there wasn’t any marijuana in the pipe.

“He’s not a child using marijuana. He’s just a child that picked up something that shouldn’t have been picked up,” she said. “It’s just like if somebody was to take a beer can [and give it to] a 3-, 4-, or 5-year-old and take a picture of it. That doesn’t necessarily mean that the child is going to drink it.”

During an interview with police, Way admitted that he sold drugs from his home “to put food on the table,” court papers state. He also told police he knew one of the guns he possessed had been stolen.

Way was forbidden from possessing firearms because of a prior weapon-related conviction, police said.


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