Federal prosecutors have charged the chief judge of the Wind River Indian Reservation with using a phone to send text messages to distribute a controlled substance and distribution of cocaine, according to the indictment filed in U.S. District Court.

Terri Smith, an enrolled member of the Northern Arapaho Tribe, heard the charges against her and pleaded not guilty during her initial appearance before U.S. Magistrate Judge Teresa McKee in Lander on Wednesday.

McKee advised Smith of her rights, and ordered her to not have contact with unnamed individuals involved with the case.

She was released on a $25,000 unsecured bond. Her next court appearance is scheduled before U.S. District Court Judge Alan Johnson in Cheyenne on June 3.

Cody attorney Colin Simpson represented Smith.

After the indictment was filed on March 21, Smith asked that it be sealed and McKee agreed.

Wednesday, McKee denied Smith's request to keep it sealed.

Terri Smith. Wind River Tribal Court
Terri Smith. Wind River Tribal Court

The indictment says using a communication facility in a conspiracy to distribute a controlled substance is a felony punishable by up to four years in prison. Distribution of cocaine is punishable by up to 10 years in prison.

Smith allegedly sent three text messages on April 28, 2018, to a co-conspirator to distribute oxycodone. On June 26, 2018, she allegedly distributed cocaine., according to the indictment.

The indictment did not give any further details about the investigation.

According to the Wind River Tribal Court website, Smith was born and raised on the Reservation, graduated from the University of Utah Law School in 2010.

She was admitted to the Wyoming State Bar. Smith was in private practice at Baldwin, Crocker & Rudd in Lander for five and half years before being appointed an Associate Judge of the Northern Arapaho Tribal Court.

She was sworn in as Chief Judge of the Wind River Tribal Court in January 2018.

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