Wyoming News Briefs for January 8, 2019

Two Cody residents sentenced in meth ring operation

CODY (WNE) — Two major players from a Cody methamphetamine ring faced final sentencing last week in the U.S. District Court of Wyoming in Casper.

Cody resident William “Bill” Lee, 43, was sentenced to 11 years in prison Thursday for conspiracy to distribute meth and for being a felon in unlawful use of a controlled substance in possession of firearms. 

The judge behind that decision, District Court Judge Scott Skavdahl, also sentenced Lee’s alleged co-conspirator, Cody resident Howard K. Shull, 61, for conspiracy to distribute meth. He received five years prison and four years supervised release on Thursday. 

Lee was allegedly found holding just over 30 grams of meth when he was arrested with his wife Wendy Lee late last winter in Casper. Wendy Lee faces three counts of intent to distribute methamphetamine; felonies carrying a combined 60 years in jail and $75,000 fine. 

Phillip T. McGuire, 49, of Cheyenne was also sentenced during the same hearing as Bill Lee and Shull, to 10 years in prison for conspiracy to distribute meth. All three pleaded guilty to the charges brought against them.

Bill Lee is alleged to have been a hub in a major Bighorn Basin distribution network, buying pounds of meth from alleged Colorado meth source Brian Bland.

Bland has pleaded guilty to conspiracy to distribute meth and to possession with intent to distribute meth, facing a Feb. 15 sentencing in Casper.

Prosecutors allege Bland shipped meth north from Denver by using McGuire as his courier in what appears to have been a large scale distribution network. The first of McGuire’s conspiracy charges stem from a transaction that allegedly took place Jan. 27 near the Wind River Canyon.


Riverton seeks funds to create ‘crime map’

RIVERTON (WNE) — The city of Riverton is seeking a federal grant to help identify the areas where crime takes places most often in the community.

City administrator Tony Tolstedt said the money - up to $1.2 million per applicant - would be used to develop a program that applies global information systems in order to map criminal activity in Riverton.

The Riverton Police Department would use the information to determine where additional law enforcement presence might be beneficial.

"It can actually be a significant increase in terms of how effective we can be," Tolstedt said.

Councilman Tim Hancock said a crime mapping might allow the RPD to do more "community oriented policing" that would be "more proactive rather than reactive" in areas identified as high-crime.

"That is exactly the idea," RPD chief Eric Murphy said.

He added that he would reach out to the Fremont County Sheriff's Office and law enforcement on the Wind River Indian Reservation "so they can be involved as well."

The grant from the U.S. Department of Justice, which does not require a local match, also would pay for two new RPD officers.


Committee looks at strengthening Laramie liquor rules

LARAMIE (WNE) — An ad hoc committee created by the Laramie City Council last year is set to consider several measures at its next meeting that aim to combat alcohol violations at bars and restaurants in the city.

Among the issues likely to be brought up for a vote include tougher sanctions for bars that fail police compliance checks, additional fines for minors caught buying alcohol, incentives for the purchase of ID scanners by bars, and mandatory “tavern meetings.”

Those meetings would provide bars with training on how to prevent over-serving and drunk driving.

The ad hoc alcohol committee began its work in October and is required to submit a report to city council in February.

After 12 of Laramie’s 61 alcohol license holders failed compliance checks in early December, University of Wyoming Vice President for Student Affairs Sean Blackburn suggested there needs to be greater sanctions for non-compliant businesses.

At Monday’s ad hoc meeting, O’Dwyer’s co-owner Deirdre O’Dwyer noted that DUIs and other alcohol citations have been declining in the city in recent years.

“It sounds like things are going in the right direction. Based on everything I’m hearing, I’m actually putting out on the table … that I don’t see the need for change,” she said.

At O’Dwyer’s suggestion, the committee will, however, consider options for implementing greater penalties for underage drinkers.

Current fines are set by state statute, but city attorney Bob Southard said it would be possible for the city council to create an additional fine.

Albany County Sheriff David O’Malley said he’s impressed by the effort bars put into not serving minors. He said he’d support greater penalties for violating customers.

“You make them responsible for jeopardizing your employees and jeopardizing your license,” he said.


Wyoming this Weekend, Jan. 11-13

By the Wyoming News Exchange

A test of hunting skill will highlight this weekend’s activities in Wyoming as Shoshoni hosts the Wyoming Women’s 5-Shot Rabbit Hunt on Friday and Saturday.

Two-woman teams, each team member armed with five bullets, will attempt to take as many rabbits as possible during the event.

The two-day celebration, marking its 40th year in 2019, will feature live music, prizes and live and silent auctions.

Other events scheduled for the weekend include:

English High Tea at Cheyenne’s Nagel Warren Mansion on Friday and Saturday;

Tours of the Wind River Wild Horse Sanctuary through the weekend, and

A display of the works of Laramie artist Patrick Kikut at Sheridan’s Edward A Whitney Gallery through the weekend.

For more information on these and other events, please visit the Wyoming Tourism Division’s website at TravelWyoming.com