Final defendants in multistate drug bust sentenced

2012-05-29T18:00:00Z 2012-05-31T15:45:04Z Final defendants in multistate drug bust sentencedBy EJ CONZOLA II Star-Tribune staff writer Casper Star-Tribune Online

Two men convicted as a result of a multistate drug investigation that resulted in 58 arrests were sentenced to lengthy prison terms late last week.

Sotero Negrete of Casper was sentenced Thursday by federal District Judge Nancy Freudenthal to 30 years in prison, to be followed by 10 years of supervised probation. His co-defendant, Eddie Serrato, of West Valley City, Utah, was sentenced to 25 years in prison, to be followed by 10 years of probation.

Both men had faced the possibility of life in prison.

Negrete had been convicted in March on 11 charges, including multiple charges related to the sale of methamphetamine, conspiracy to launder money and possession of a firearm during a drug trafficking crime.

Serrato was convicted at the same time on two drug-distribution-related charges.

Special Assistant United States Attorney Randall B. Carnahan said the sentencings completed the judicial process for the 58 people arrested in the investigation of a methamphetamine operation that sent the drug to Wyoming from Washington and Utah. Once in Wyoming, the drug was sold around the state and also sent to Iowa to be distributed.

Prosecutors secured convictions against all those arrested in the case. Defendants received sentences ranging from probation to 20 years in prison.

Negrete and Serrato were the only two defendants who stood trial. A jury convicted the pair March 15 following an eight-day trial in Cheyenne.

However, the investigation is continuing to produce arrests. Three people made initial appearances in Natrona County Circuit Court on Wednesday on drug charges growing out of the investigation.

Jesus S. Valenzuela, 27, of Casper, was charged with one county of conspiracy to deliver methamphetamine and one count of conspiracy to deliver marijuana. Samantha L. Rodriguez, 36, was charged with two counts of conspiracy to deliver meth and Ryan R. Russell, 28, of Casper, was charged with one count of conspiracy to deliver meth.

Copyright 2015 Casper Star-Tribune Online. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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