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Two linked to Pitt meth ring take pleas, get lighter punishment

Nov 15, 2013 - By Eric Blom, Staff Writer

Two men arrested during a countywide methamphetamine bust in May have taken plea agreements that will spare them long prison terms.

Joseph Randall Summerlin on Nov. 14 pleaded guilty to one count of felony possession of a controlled substance in following with a plea agreement.

A judge tentatively accepted the agreement which would give the 40-year-old Riverton man two to four years in prison suspended in favor of three years of probation. District Court Judge Norman E. Young would give the official sentence at a later hearing after receiving a pre-sentence investigation.

The charge is for possessing more than 3 grams of a controlled substance and carries a maximum penalty of seven years in prison.

The defendant admitted he possessed the drugs but gave few details as to why.

"I was pulled over," Summerlin said in court. "They searched my truck and found seven to eight grams of methamphetamine."

Highway Patrol trooper Brandon Deckert stopped Summerlin and arrested him on May 21 at the request of a Wyoming Division of Criminal Investigation agent, according to court documents. A confidential informant had told the DCI agent the defendant had some meth he was going to deliver to the informant.

Over the two days following Summerlin's arrest, law enforcement arrested six people across Fremont County alleged to have been involved in a meth distribution ring led by Hudson man Timothy Pitt. Nothing in court documents or Summerlin's statements indicated he was involved in that group except the same DCI agent investigated all the cases.

Second plea

On Oct. 24, Lyle James Haukaas pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor possession of a controlled substance charge also in line with a plea agreement. Prosecutors reduced the defendant's charges from conspiracy to deliver methamphetamine.

Lander Circuit Court Judge Robert B. Denhardt sentenced Haukaas to one year in prison, the maximum possible for the misdemeanor. Under the delivery charge, Haukaas had faced up to 20 years in prison.

The judge gave Haukaas credit for 119 days served but ordered him to pay $1,240 in fines and fees.

Haukaas was arrested May 23 and court documents alleged he was part of a drug ring headed by Pitt. DCI agents had tapped Pitt's phone and listened in as Haukaas contacted Pitt several times in April and May to buy drugs so he could resell them, according to an affidavit filed with the defendant's original charge.

Other cases

Two other defendants arrested during the May meth bust have resolved their cases with plea agreements while three others await trial. Pitt is facing federal charges that could see him serve life in prison and has a trial scheduled for Dec. 14.

Travis Fauque, of Lander, on Aug. 29 pleaded guilty to conspiracy to deliver meth and in exchange prosecutors agreeing to limit his maximum sentence to 15 years in prison.

Abigail White, of Riverton, pleaded guilty Nov. 7 to conspiracy to deliver meth, following a deal with prosecutors. The agreement requires White to undergo addiction treatment, and if she completes it, she would receive five years of probation. If she does not finish the program, she could be sentenced to up to 20 years in prison.

"I met Tim Pitt at the casino and because of my own drug addiction, I began selling drugs for him," White said at the Nov. 7 hearing.

She would buy in quantity or Pitt would front her the drug, White said. She would then sell it for a profit and have some leftover for herself.

Anthony Hernandez, of Riverton, and Shene Springfield, of Lander, do not have plea agreements and have trials scheduled.

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