Prosecutors charged two Wyomingites and a Coloradan with a total of 11 felonies following a three-month investigation that culminated in arrests outside of a Casper fast-food restaurant.

Prosecutors allege that law enforcement found Michael Williams of Evansville, Cindy Williams of Casper and Julio Gasca-Nieto of Northglenn, Colorado, while the three were conducting a drug deal for nearly 3 pounds of methamphetamine outside of Hardee’s on southeast Wyoming Boulevard. Two children were present during the transaction, according to law enforcement.

The two Williams appeared in Natrona County Circuit Court Wednesday for their initial hearings. Gasca-Nieto appeared Thursday afternoon. On Wednesday, Prosecutor Trevor Schenk said Gasca-Nieto’s hearing was delayed to provide a translator.

The Wyoming Division of Criminal Investigation began looking into a drug trafficking organization operating in Wyoming and Colorado as early as September, court documents show.

After DCI agents watched a methamphetamine seller make an apparent buy at Cindy Williams’ house, they arrested the seller. She told investigators she had bought meth from Cindy Williams multiple times and that Williams traveled to Denver to procure the drug, according to the documents.

Another informant told agents on Tuesday that Cindy Williams had pooled money to buy about 2.5 pounds of the drug from Gasca-Nieto, according to the documents. As Gasca-Nieto was driving the drug to Casper, a judge issued a search warrant for Williams.

When agents saw Cindy Williams leave in a truck with Michael Williams, they followed the two to the restaurant, where they met Gasca-Nieto and began conducting hand-to-hand transactions, according to the documents.

As law enforcement moved in, Michael Williams attempted to drive away but was hemmed in, according to the documents. Michael Williams tried to run, but a DCI agent tackled and arrested him with the help of other agents and a “concerned citizen.”

Both Williams along with Gasca-Nieto and his wife were taken into custody. Staff of the Department of Family Services took the children, who were found in Gasca-Nieto’s vehicle, into protective custody.

After searching the two vehicles, law enforcement found 2.9 pounds of methamphetamine, a pistol concealed in a Hardee’s bag and $13,000 in cash. Michael Williams was also carrying a gun when he was arrested, according to the documents.

In interviews with law enforcement, Gasca-Nieto and both Williams admitted to participating in the drug deal, according to the documents. Gasca-Nieto’s wife said she did not know about the methamphetamine and was later released.

Michael Williams faces charges of conspiracy to deliver methamphetamine and possession of methamphetamine with intent to deliver. Cindy Williams is facing charges of conspiracy to deliver methamphetamine, possession of methamphetamine with intent to deliver, delivery of methamphetamine and child endangerment. Gasca-Nieto is facing charges of conspiracy to deliver methamphetamine, possession of methamphetamine with intent to deliver, delivery of methamphetamine and two charges of child endangerment.

In Natrona County Circuit Court on Thursday, Schenk cited Gasca-Nieto’s illegal immigration status and called the man a “severe flight risk,” in asking for bond to be set at $100,000, cash only. Judge Steven Brown granted Schenk’s request.

Bond for both of the Williams was set at $50,000 on Wednesday.

Follow crime reporter Shane Sanderson on Twitter @shanersanderson

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Shane Sanderson is a Star-Tribune reporter who primarily covers criminal justice. Sanderson is a proud University of Missouri graduate. Lately, he’s been reading Cormac McCarthy and cooking Italian food. He writes about his own life in his free time.

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