Gillette Woman Sentenced to 6.5 Years for Meth Distribution Conspiracy
A Gillette woman who received and sold scores, if not hundreds, of pounds of methamphetamine to other Wyoming suppliers was sentenced to 78 months -- six-and-a-half years -- imprisonment in federal court on Friday, according to minutes of the hearing.
Wendy Delana Kaufman heard the sentence from U.S. District Court Judge Alan Johnson in Cheyenne.
She pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine on Feb. 28.
Johnson also ordered Kaufman to pay $500 in community restitution, pay a $100 special assessment, and serve four years of supervised probation after her release from custody.
The penalty summary of federal court records says conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine is punishable by 10 years to life imprisonment, followed by five years of supervised release. Court records do not indicate why Kaufman got the lesser sentence of six-and-a-half years.
During her probation, Johnson ordered that she must not possess firearms, buy or use alcohol or illicit drugs, undergo a mental health evaluation, and undergo cognitive/behavioral enroll in vocational training or education if unemployed.
The case started three years ago when Wyoming Division of Criminal Investigation agents received information about Kaufman and another person -- identified only by the initials C.H. -- involved in a methamphetamine distribution conspiracy, according to a criminal complaint filed by a DCI agent on April 8, 2022.
Kaufman was dating that other person who also was her supplier.
In December 2020, a confidential source told the DCI that she was receiving 25-pound shipments of methamphetamine every two weeks from someone who was a cartel member in Arizona, and that she was buying the drug for $3,000 to $4,000 a pound.
In August 2021, agents interviewed a second confidential source who said Kaufman was that confidential source's supplier from March 2020 to March 2021.
That confidential source also said Kaufman would drive to the Denver area to buy meth herself from a supply source.
But COVID drove the meth market crazy.
From March to August 2020, the prices from Kaufman's source went from $300 per ounce to $1,200 per ounce, and Kaufman stopped using that source and started going to Arizona.
From the middle of August to September 2020, the second confidential source would buy two pounds of meth a week for $10,000 a pound, with the total purchases in that time adding to about 12 pounds.
In October and December 2020, and January 2021, the second confidential source didn't buy that much from Kaufman.
But in November 2020, the price dropped to $8,000 per pound.
So from March 2020 to March 2021, the second confidential source bought at least 36 pounds from Kaufman for resale in Wyoming, according to the criminal complaint.
At one point, Kaufman wanted to cut C.H. out of the business as "he wasn't 'bringing anything to the table.'"
That changed quickly sometime in November or December when C.H. won $102,500 at the Wyoming Downs location in Gillette, and he was able to pay off his debts. Two weeks later, C.H. won $123,000 but went broke shortly thereafter, according to the criminal complaint.
The second confidential source also said they went from buying "eight balls" -- 3.5 grams or one-eighth of an ounce -- of meth to buying 25 pounds.
In a subsequent interview, the second confidential source said a couple in Arizona was a source of supply for Kaufman, and that source used a shipping company to haul vehicles containing meth, and identified one.
On Feb. 18, 2022, the Gillette Police Department told the DCI about responding to the Campo Federal Credit Union where a bank teller found a clear plastic baggie containing suspected drugs -- later identified as meth -- on the floor, and that Kaufman was the teller's customer. Video surveillance showed Kaufman had dropped the baggie.
The teller said Kaufman told the teller about going to Las Vegas for her son's wedding, and wanted her debit card activated. The teller thought that was strange because Kaufman had just withdrawn nearly all the money from her account.
Other confidential sources told the DCI about buying meth from Kaufman, with one source saying they one time saw her with about a pound.