Meth ring leader Pitt and supplier agree to opt for plea deal

Nov 26, 2013 By Eric Blom, Staff Writer

Specifics of the agreements were not announced, as is typical in the federal court system.

Federal prosecutors have filed a plea agreement in the case of the Hudson man charged with leading a ring of methamphetamine dealers in Fremont County. Under federal court guidelines, most details of the deal are not public

Pitt's agreement was field Nov. 22. An agreement for his alleged supplier and co-defendant, Maria de la Luz Vargas, was filed Nov. 25. The second document also is sealed.

Both agreements include a sentence or sentence range for the defendants the court would have to follow if it accepted the agreement. The length of the recommended penalty was not made public.

"Plea agreements that are filed by the U.S. Attorney's Office are never open to the public," U.S. Attorney's Office spokesman John Powell said in an interview.

Pitt's agreement came on the deadline for plea agreements set by federal district judge Scott W. Skavdahl. Vargas's came late but was allowed.

Trial had been scheduled

A trial had been scheduled to start Nov. 18 for Pitt and Vargas, but Skavdahl on Nov. 5 ordered that date continued until Dec. 16 and also pushed back the plea agreement deadline.

More information should be public after Pitt's sentencing, which is to be an open hearing, Powell said.

Pitt has a change of plea hearing set for Dec. 11 in Cheyenne.

A federal grand jury on Sept. 25 indicted Pitt on six charges and Vargas on one, all related to drugs.

Four charges against Pitt, who was 32 at the time of his arrest, are for distribution of meth, each alleging he did so on a different date: Jan. 11, Jan. 17, Feb. 14 and Feb. 22. Each count carries a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison and a $1 million fine.

Another count charges Pitt and Vargas, a Green River resident who was 46 at the time of her arrest, with conspiring to possess 500 grams or more of meth with the intent to distribute it between January and May 2013. Possible penalties for the crime include 10 years to life in prison and a $10 million fine.

The grand jury also charged Pitt with using a firearm in relation with the conspiracy to possess charge. If he is convicted, the gun count would add seven years to any prison sentence Pitt receives.

An affidavit filed in the case against Pitt and Vargas stated a confidential informant working with the Wyoming Division of Criminal Investigation purchased meth from Pitt on each of the four dates listed in his distribution of meth charges.

The document also stated that DCI agents used phone taps and surveillance to record several transactions in April and May through which Vargas delivered roughly 800 grams of meth to Pitt in total.

Revised charges

The pair each faced two different sets of charges before.

With the indictment, a case stemming from an Aug. 21 federal complaint closed. That complaint charged Pitt and Vargas both with conspiracy to posses with intent to distribute meth and using a person under 18 years old to do so.

The complaint itself caused state charges to be dropped.

The Fremont County Attorney's Office filed a conspiracy to deliver meth charge against Pitt on May 22.

District Court Judge for Fremont County Norman E. Young dismissed the case Aug. 23 after federal charges were filed.

Sweetwater County prosecutors charged Vargas with conspiracy to deliver meth on July 17, but a Wyoming District Court judged dismissed the case Aug. 23 so federal prosecutors could take it over.

Other cases settled

Three of Pitt's codefendants in state court who were arrested along with him in a three-day period during a countywide drug bust in May already have resolved their cases through plea agreements.

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.

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.

Two other former codefendants, Anthony Hernandez, of Riverton, and Shene Springfield, of Lander, are scheduled to have trials.

Print Story
Read The Ranger...