Comments Off on Grand jury indicts members of alleged meth ring

CASPER, Wyo. — A Natrona County grand jury has indicted more than two dozen people in connection with what authorities are describing as a multistate drug ring.

The indictments follow a Wyoming Division of Criminal Investigation probe that uncovered a methamphetamine operation in Wyoming, Iowa, Washington and Utah. Prosecutors say the alleged drug ring was moving 10 to 12 pounds of the drug each week.

On Monday, 28 men and woman arrested as part of the sting made initial appearances before District Court judges. Most of the defendants were taken into custody on Friday morning in the Casper area.

Based on a motion from prosecutors, a judge unsealed the indictments against the defendants. However, they were not available late Monday afternoon.

During the court proceedings on Monday, authorities indicated that two of the defendants — Soreto Negrete, 31, and Jesus Camacho, 33 — were at the center of large methamphetamine distribution rings in Casper. It is unclear if the men’s alleged drug activities were related.

Officers found a pound and a half of the drug in Negrete’s home, Natrona County District Attorney Mike Blonigen told the court.

Natrona County District Judge Thomas Sullins set Negrete’s bond at $400,000, while Judge David Park set Camacho’s bond at $500,000.

“I’m here to face my problems,” Negrete said in open court. “I’m not going to run from nothing. … I’m going to see this through. The time that I get is the time that I get.”

Indictments by a grand jury are unusual in Natrona County. Blonigen said he thinks the last time that an indictment occurred was 1979. He declined to comment on why prosecutors used a grand jury in this case because, he said, it was connected to evidence in the case.

A majority of the defendants were indicted on conspiracy to possess methamphetamine with the intent to deliver. The charge carries a prison sentence of up to 20 years.

Some of the defendants had marijuana-related felonies.

Most of those arrested asked for court-appointed attorneys.

People named in court documents are Sotero Negrete, Kale Hurley, Charles Lewis, Shannon Cates, Aryn Hedquist, Steven Sherman, Jordan Martinez, Scott Bronson, Michelle Willcox, Vanessa McQueary, Todd Champagne, Ryan Thompson, Jeremiah Hovland, Lorena Gonzales, Ashlee Grant, Jesus Camacho, Darrell Olson, Stuart Acorn, Timothy Miller, Joseph Pullman-Martinez, Dennis Vezina, Joshua Harris, Francie Palmer, Sara Wagner, Jesse Harris, Richard Parke III, Andrew Porter and Ronald Jackson.

http://billingsgazette.com/news/state-and-regional/wyoming/article_f45f00ce-ebf5-54e9-a1fd-fec332c34cc8.html

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