Authorities arrested four people on Thursday on suspicion of selling and conspiring to sell nearly two pounds of methamphetamine in the last five months, according to Special Agent Tim Hill of the Wyoming Division of Criminal Investigation.
Deolegaria "Mimi" Gomez, 19, Diocelina Ortega-Pantoja, 23, Ana Mendoza-Ortega, 22, and Juan Carlos Preciado-Chavez, 24, were taken into custody after agents bought more than 200 grams of crystal methamphetamine from them in what authorities say was the fifth purchase from the group, according a statement from DCI.
The four were read the charges against them late Friday afternoon as they appeared in federal court in Casper, with all except Gomez asking for access to a translator. All face a charge of conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute more than 500 grams of methamphetamine, a charge that carries a sentence 10 years to life in prison with a fine of up to $4 million.
The other four charges relate to specific instances in which agents claim that drugs were sold. Mendoza-Ortega alone faces all of the other four charges, with the others facing one or more additional charges.
The affidavit appearing with the charging documents details purchases reportedly made by an undercover agent with the DCI. The agent chronicles interviews and previous drug busts that have pointed in the direction of Mendoza-Ortega and the others who were arrested Thursday.
The four generally remained quiet in court on Friday. U.S. Magistrate Michael Shickich advised them that they may not be eligible to be released on bond before their trial if they do not have the necessary documents to be in the United States. Shickich indicated that at least three of the four may not yet have been able to provide the needed documents.
At one point Gomez translated for the other three seated beside her.
"These guys have babies," Gomez said. "I was wondering if my mom can take those babies."
Shickich said Gomez's mother would have to make arrangements with the Department of Family Services to see about caring for the children, who Gomez said are 2 and 2.5 years old.
It is not apparent whether any of the four who were arrested are relatives.
According to the DCI statement, agents searching a home at 2921 Navarre Road recovered packaging materials and other items commonly used in distributing illegal drugs. It is not known which, if any, of the four who were arrested lived at that address.
Several neighbors who live on Navarre said they had not noticed anything unusual in the area in recent days.
Reporter Anthony Lane can be reached at (307) 266-0593 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.