Roughly 44 people in three different states have been arrested in what federal authorities are calling a "long-term investigation of a methamphetamine trafficking operation."

The probe has led to the seizure of more than nine pounds of methamphetamine, several firearms and more than $100,000 in cash, according to John Powell, spokesman for the U.S. Attorneys' Office in Cheyenne.

Powell said facts and specifics of the investigation will remain under seal in federal court until "all of the warrants have been served."

As of Thursday, federal arrest warrants had been served on people in Wyoming, Utah and Colorado. In Wyoming, arrests were made in the counties of Natrona, Campbell, Fremont, Laramie and Converse.

Some of the Natrona County arrests were in Casper on Wednesday, as several city streets were blocked while state, local and federal agencies executed search and arrest warrants. A large section of North Lincoln Street remained closed for much of the morning while a house in the 300 block of the street was searched.

Casper police assisting in that search ultimately arrested Mecale Roth, who authorities say was found in the home with two young children and "items and chemicals used in the manufacture of methamphetamine," according to an affidavit from the case.

"Roth denied having known that there were items used for the manufacture of methamphetamine in the residence," according to the affidavit.

Roth, 33, was charged with child endangerment at her initial appearance in Natrona County Circuit Court on Thursday. If convicted of the felony, she faces the possibility of up to five years behind bars.

Bond was set at $5,000.

She remained in the Natrona County Detention Center on Thursday afternoon.

Police say her children -- ages 5 and 2 -- were released to the Department of Family Services on Wednesday.

Roth will have a preliminary hearing within the next two weeks when a judge will decide if enough evidence exists for her to stand trial in district court.

Reach crime reporter William Browning at (307) 266-0534 or at william.browning@trib.com.

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