A Colorado man and a Casper woman were arrested last weekend and charged with fentanyl-related crimes that, if convicted on all charges, could land them in prison for decades, according to a Natrona County assistant district attorney on Monday

Matthew Maczuga and Kiley Fournier, both 29, heard the charges against them during their initial appearances before Judge Brian Christensen in Natrona County Circuit Court.

Maczuga, who said his home was in Westminster, Colorado, was charged with conspiracy to deliver fentanyl, possession of fentanyl with intent to distribute, and possession of fentanyl.

The first two charges carry penalties of up to 20 years imprisonment. The possession charge carries a punishment of up to seven years imprisonment.

Fournier faces the same charges, Assistant District Attorney Holbrook said.

Christensen set their bonds at $20,000 cash or surety.

She and Maczuga will receive representation from public defenders, and Christensen ordered them to not have contact with each other.

According to drugs.com, fentanyl is a synthetic opioid up to 100 times stronger than other opioids, can be highly addictive, and when properly prescribed it is used to treat moderate to severe pain including end-of-life care. Illicit fentanyl, which is cheaply made and easily transported, is often mixed with other drugs including methamphetamine. Two milligrams can be fatal, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse.

The Maczuga-Fournier case began in July after the Wyoming Division of Criminal Investigation learned Maczuga was involved in the distribution of controlled substances, specifically fentanyl, in Natrona County, according to the affidavit supporting the criminal complaint filed in the Natrona County Circuit Court Clerk's office.

DCI agents conducted physical surveillance on Maczuga and learned that a source bought blue pressed fentanyl pills from him. Maczuga sold the pills for approximately $30 per pill. That source also said that Maczuga, often accompanied by Fournier, would drive to Colorado to buy large quantities of the drug from a known, but unnamed supplier.

On July 25, a DCI agent obtained a GPS tracker warrant from Christensen. Agents attached the GPS tracker to Maczuga's vehicle. During the next couple of days, DCI agents observed Maczuga driving to residences in Casper whose occupants were known to use and/or distribute controlled substances.

On July 28, agents surveilled him driving to the Denver area. Maczuga stayed there until about 3:30 a.m. the next day.

They worked with two Wyoming Highway Patrol troopers, who stopped Maczuga's vehicle on Interstate 25 as it entered Natrona County. Fournier was driving, Maczuga was in the front passenger seat and another man was sitting in the rear passenger seat.

The agents, acting on a previously issued search warrant, searched the vehicle and found approximately 115 suspected fentanyl pills, foil with burnt suspected fentanyl residue, a gray pen tooter, and a methamphetamine pipe with residue. They also found in Fournier's purse two syringes -- one containing a red liquid later tested presumptively positive for fentanyl -- and a rubber container with suspected fentanyl residue.

After being advised of their Miranda rights, Maczuga explained he was able to buy fentanyl pills for approximately $25 each in the Casper area, then selling them for $30 each. He said he traveled to Colorado three or four times, and once bought approximately 2,000 pills there.

After initially denying knowing Maczuga distributed controlled substances, she later admitted it, according to the affidavit.

Assistant District Attorney Holbrook said the cases of Maczuga and Fournier are among other fentanyl-cases in Natrona County.

"We have a lot of fentanyl on the street right now," Holbrook said. "We've had quite a few overdoses."

Guy in the Chair: A Look Inside the Casper-Natrona County Public Safety Communications Center

For the Casper Police Department and every other first responder agency, there is the Casper-Natrona County Public Safety Communications Center. They are this town's 'Guy in the Chair,' taking calls, directing traffic and, quite literally, saving lives.

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