A Mills man will spend at least a decade behind bars for distributing methamphetamine, a Natrona County District Court judge ruled today.

Michael Ross, 40, pleaded guilty to one felony count of possession of methamphetamine with intent to deliver during a change of plea hearing before Judge Thomas Sullins.

In exchange for his plea, the Natrona County District Attorney's Office agreed to dismiss one count of delivery of a controlled substance and one count of possessing a firearm during the commission of a drug-related felony. He also was charged with intimidating a witness.

Assistant District Attorney Dan Itzen and Ross's Public Defender Kerri Johnson also agreed with Ross's request for an immediate sentencing.

Itzen cited Ross's long and sometimes violent criminal history in several states and recommended a 10- to 14-year prison term with intensive addiction treatment.

Sullins accepted the terms of the agreement and ordered him to prison.

The case began in January when a confidential informant told Wyoming Division of Criminal Investigation agents about alleged drug dealers including Ross in the Casper area, according to court documents.

Ross would get methamphetamine from his source and front it to a companion who would sell the drug for him.
Ross also had a handgun on him at all times in order to protect the drugs and cash.

Another informant told investigators they sold four or five pounds of methamphetamine from November through January, and people selling the drug distributed handguns to co-conspirators.

Another confidential source estimated they and another person allegedly involved sold at least 20 pounds of methamphetamine in the prior three-and-a-half months.

On Jan. 18, agents obtained and executed a search warrant at a Casper home found 61 grams — a little over one-tenth of a pound — of methamphetamine and two handguns, according to court records.

Meanwhile, in a separate case, Ross is charged with one felony count of strangulation of a household member and one misdemeanor count of false imprisonment.