22 arrested in Casper-area meth distribution investigation

2012-05-23T23:45:00Z 2012-05-24T00:20:09Z 22 arrested in Casper-area meth distribution investigationBy EJ CONZOLA II Casper Star-Tribune The Billings Gazette
May 23, 2012 11:45 pm  • 

CASPER, Wyo. — A multiyear investigation into methamphetamine sales in the Casper area has resulted in the arrest of 22 people, and prosecutors say additional arrests are expected.

The 22 already in custody made their initial appearances in Natrona County Circuit Court on Wednesday. All were charged with conspiracy to distribute a controlled substance.

All 22 defendants were ordered jailed in lieu of cash or surety bonds in amounts ranging from $5,000 to $75,000. Preliminary hearings for some of the defendants could be held as soon as next week.

Assistant District Attorney Randall B. Carnahan said the arrests were the result of a six-year, multi-agency investigation into meth sales and involved the use of wire taps on multiple telephones. The incidents under investigation spanned several Wyoming counties, but the focus of the case was in Natrona County, Carnahan said.

He declined to provide further details of the investigation, noting that it was ongoing.

The release of additional details, including the names of those who appeared in court Wednesday, could "potentially compromise" the investigation, Carnahan said. If the information was made public, "the rest of those people are going to be gone," he said.

Media law attorney Bruce Moats of Cheyenne said the ongoing investigation provides prosecutors "the one exception" to the law that generally requires the names of those arrested be made public.

"At least for a short time, (withholding the names) may be appropriate," Moats said.

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