A co-defendant in a drug conspiracy case, who with her boyfriend led law enforcement on a high-speed chase in June, pleaded not guilty to six drug and firearms charges in federal court Tuesday.

Santana Keener entered the pleas during her arraignment and detention hearing before U.S. Magistrate Judge Kelly Rankin in Cheyenne.

The judge ordered Keener held without bond for multiple reasons: no conditions of her release will assure the safety of the community; no conditions that will reasonably assure she will appear in court; the weight of the evidence against her; a potential lengthy sentence if convicted; prior criminal history; participation in criminal activity while on probation; history of violence or use of weapons; history of substance abuse; lack of state employment and residence; financial insecurity; lack of significant community or family ties; and prior violations of probation.

Rankin also set her and Christopher Eads' trial in U.S. District Court in Casper on Oct. 16.

Last month, Eads pleaded not guilty during his arraignment the nine counts against him. He also was ordered detained for reasons similar to Keener's.

Eads and Keener originally were charged in state district court in Natrona and Converse counties respectively with many of the same crimes, but state dismissed its charges after the Wyoming U.S. Attorney's Office took over the case.

Keener is charged with six counts:

  • Conspiracy to distribute heroin and methamphetamine.
  • Use and carry a firearm during and in relation to a drug trafficking crime.
  • Possess with intent to distribute heroin and methamphetamine and aiding and abetting.
  • Discharge of a firearm during and in relation to a drug trafficking crime and aiding and abetting.
  • Carjacking and aiding and abetting.
  • Felon in possession of a firearm.

If convicted on all counts, she faces 40 years to life imprisonment.

Eads is charged with these counts, plus carjacking, assault on a federal officer, and discharge of a firearm during and in relation to a crime of violence.

The case started in April when an agent with the Wyoming Division of Criminal Investigation discovered a drug-trafficking organization in Natrona County, and identified Eads as its main supplier of methamphetamine and heroin, according to court records.

Eads traveled to Colorado on a weekly basis to re-supply and expand the organization. The DCI later placed a tracking device on Eads sport utility vehicle.

On Saturday, June 3, state and federal agents knew Eads and Keener would be returning from Denver after a drug purchase and planned to stop them on Interstate 25 before they reached Casper.

Kenner was driving that night, realized she was being followed, and a chase ensued. The engine of their SUV stalled, Eads started shooting at law enforcement, Kenner started driving again, Eads switched seats and he began driving toward Casper.

He stopped in a median, turned around and drove south toward officers at speeds up to 100 mph even after spike strips blew two tires and officers were shooting at them.

Eads drove into Glenrock. Officers found the SUV and shortly after that received a report of an elderly woman who had been assaulted in her home. Eads took the keys to her car, and drove it through a garage wall, according to court documents.

The car was abandoned in a ditch in Glenrock. Eads assaulted a Glenrock police officer and stole his patrol car.

Eads left Keener in the ditch in Glenrock. She was arrested and taken into custody where officers found heroin on her person.
Eads later crashed the police car, stole another vehicle and drove north on I-25. Officers chased him into Casper.

He stopped at Dayton Transmission on East F Street where the standoff ensued. It ended about 2:30 a.m. Sunday, June 4.

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