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Andrew Apodaca

Andrew Apodaca

Prosecutors on Thursday charged a Casper man with 12 felonies alleging he ran a drug ring that distributed methamphetamine and illicit prescription pills in the area.

Following a two-month investigation, law enforcement on Wednesday arrested Andrew Apodaca, 38, and searched a storage unit and his Casper home. Between the two locations, they found about an ounce of heroin, two-and-a-quarter ounces of meth and about six ounces of marijuana, according to court documents.

The next day, Apodaca appeared in Natrona County Circuit Court, where he spoke only in response to biographical questions and to request a court-appointed defense attorney. He did not have the opportunity to enter pleas to any of the charges.

If a judge determines there is probable cause for the felonies, Apodaca will then have an opportunity to enter pleas at an arraignment in Natrona County District Court.

Assistant District Attorney Trevor Schenk told Judge Michael Patchen that law enforcement had seen Apodaca deliver another 50 grams of meth over the course of two days. He asked the judge to set Apodaca’s bail at $100,000 cash-only. When Apodaca declined to speak about the proposed bail amount, the judge granted the prosecutor’s request, which means Apodaca will not be able to hire a bond agent to post the six-figure bail for him.

When Patchen announced the decision, Apodaca looked up at the ceiling and dropped his jaw, but again did not speak. As a deputy led him from the room, he looked over his shoulder to the courtroom audience before disappearing behind a door.

Court documents indicate the Wyoming Division of Criminal Investigation earlier this year identified Apodaca as the leader of drug ring in Natrona County. According to the documents, an informant in April wore a wire and helped undercover agents buy from Apodaca about two ounces of meth, an ounce of marijuana and a quarter-ounce of Xanax, which is an prescription anti-anxiety drug. The same month, another informant and an undercover agent bought what Apodaca said was about an ounce of meth and about 50 oxycodone pills, the documents state.

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The Wyoming State Crime Lab has not yet completed testing of the substances bought during the second undercover operation, and their makeup is not yet known to authorities.

The documents also reproduce direct messages sent via Facebook in which a person law enforcement identify as Apodaca makes apparent references to selling 20 and 30 milligram oxycodone pills.

On Thursday, Schenk charged Apodaca with two counts of conspiracy to deliver controlled substances, five counts of delivery of controlled substances, three counts of possession of controlled substances with intent to deliver them and two counts of possession of controlled substances in felony quantities.

He also faces a single count of misdemeanor cocaine possession.

At least one other person has been charged with conspiracy in connection to the case.

In 2009, Apodaca pleaded guilty in federal court to a single count of conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine. He served about 20 months in federal prison.

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Crime and Courts Reporter

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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