Wyoming DCI Busts Casper-Area Meth Ring; 8 Arrested
Eight people were arrested Thursday after agents of the Wyoming Division of Criminal Investigation and Casper police officers executed a search warrant at a home on Casper's west side, the latest development in a long-running drug trafficking investigation.
Arrested were 40-year-old Brennan Capellas, 35-year-old William Day, 42-year-old Albert Robinson, 32-year-old Autumn Richards, 41-year-old April Reed, 24-year-old Alex Arnold, 22-year-old Cory Lapp and 34-year-old Starla Ramirez, all of whom were present in Capellas's home on Meadowlark when DCI agents showed up Thursday afternoon.
According to an affidavit of probable cause filed against Capellas, DCI agents had been investigating an ongoing methamphetamine trafficking ring since 2017. Capellas and Day were identified as being involved in the drug ring; a number of other people -- both named and unnamed -- were also identified by investigators.
In November 2017, members of the Northern Colorado Drug Task Force learned that Capellas was traveling to Fort Collins, Colorado. There, he would acquire half-pound quantities of methamphetamine and ounce-quantities of heroin, which he would then transport back to Casper.
On July 12, an unnamed but known co-conspirator was arrested when DCI agents assisted in searching a Casper residence. Some 26.5 grams of meth in numerous different baggies was found, along with a digital scale and suspected marijuana.
DCI agents gained further evidence against the alleged drug traffickers through interviews with confidential sources. One of those sources told investigators that they had seen Capellas with roughly a quarter-pound of meth, and saw Capellas front a quarter-ounce of meth to a known co-conspirator in July.
The source also said that Capellas was having Day travel to Colorado to pick up the meth. The source knew that Day lived with Capellas.
Agents recognized Capellas from previous meth investigations, according to the affidavit. Throughout 2018, agents received information that Capellas was traveling to Colorado to pick up large quantities of meth. Capellas was known to go by the nickname "B."
Additional evidence was gathered from exchanges via Facebook Messenger, through execution of search warrants. Capellas was observed, in multiple messages, discussing the purchase and use of drugs, as well as collecting money.
Following his arrest, Capellas allegedly admitted that he traveled to Colorado to obtain meth, which he would then bring back to Casper. He pooled his money with other purchasers in order to buy larger quantities of meth, and admitted to selling small amounts of meth to pay for his habit.
In Capellas's locked bedroom, agents allegedly found $1,275 in cash along with about a gram of meth, LSD, less than three ounces of marijuana, a digital scale with suspected meth residue, pay/owe sheets and packaging.
Day, after his arrest, allegedly admitted that he would travel to Colorado to bring back large quantities of meth, according to the affidavit filed in his case. He also admitted to selling meth in the Natrona County area.
In his interview with investigators, Day estimated that he had up to a quarter-ounce of meth in his room at the house, and said he had recently smoked some meth with Autumn Richards.
Richards allegedly told agents that she bought meth from Capellas and knew Capellas to be in possession of ounces of methamphetamine at a time. A confidential source previously told investigators that they had purchased meth from Richards on occasion.
After Thursday's bust, Reed told DCI agents that Day, her cousin, had picked her up in Cheyenne on Aug. 29 and took her to Casper, where she had been living at the house on Meadowlark since. Reed said she had previously used methamphetamine, and relapsed while she was in Cheyenne.
Reed was caught with a glass marijuana pipe and a syringe which she had previously used to inject meth.
Arnold, when interviewed by DCI agents, said that she had been smoking meth since April and started injecting the drug about two weeks before Thursday's bust.
The defendants in this case made their initial appearances in Natrona County Circuit Court on Friday afternoon. Those facing felony charges did not enter pleas in circuit court -- rather, a preliminary hearing will be held to determine whether the state has probable cause to proceed with the charges in each case. Should a case be bound over to District Court for trial, a defendant would enter a plea during their arraignment hearing.
Capellas is charged with conspiracy to deliver meth, possession of meth as a third or subsequent offense, possession of LSD as a third or subsequent offense, and possession of marijuana as a third or subsequent offense. He could face up to 35 years in prison if convicted on all counts.
Day is charged with conspiracy to deliver meth, felony possession of meth and misdemeanor marijuana possession. He could face up to 28 years behind bars if convicted on all counts.
Richards is charged with one count of conspiracy to deliver methamphetamine, which is punishable by up to 20 years in prison and a fine of $25,000. Her bond was set at $1,500 cash or surety.
Arnold on Friday pleaded guilty to a single count of misdemeanor methamphetamine possession. She was sentenced to one year of suspended jail time, except the time she had already served. She was ordered to pay a fine of $300 and complete one year of supervised probation, during which she will have to report for mandatory drug and alcohol testing.
Lapp, who was arrested on an unrelated warrant when DCI agents executed their search warrant Thursday, was charged with two counts of child endangerment with methamphetamine and one count of drug possession as a third or subsequent offense. He could face up to 15 years in prison if convicted on all counts. A petition was also filed for the revocation of his probation, which he denied.
Ramirez is charged with one count of misdemeanor marijuana possession, which is punishable by up to one year in jail and a fine of $1,000. She pleaded not guilty and was released on a personal recognizance bond in the amount of $1,000.
Reed pleaded not guilty Friday to charges of misdemeanor marijuana possession and misdemeanor meth possession. She could face up to two years behind bars if convicted. Her bond was set at $1,500 cash or surety.
Robinson pleaded not guilty to a single count of misdemeanor marijuana possession. He could also face up to one year in jail if convicted. He was released on a personal recognizance bond in the amount of $2,000.
While these eight people were arrested Thursday, charging documents contain the names of several other alleged co-conspirators. It was not immediately clear if those people are facing criminal charges in connection with this case, and as such K2 Radio News has chosen not to name them in this report.