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Evidence extensive against Dubois man facing methamphetamine charges

May 14, 2014 - By Eric Blom, Staff Writer

Two affidavits describe evidence against a Dubois man who pleaded guilty on May 8 in Lander District Court to a charge of selling methamphetamine as part of a plea agreement.

The deal would drop a second charge for manufacturing the drug.

The defendant, Trampes Frank Rivers, 40, was arrested on April 17 after authorities searched his house, went through his trash, and recorded him selling drugs.

Prosecutors charged him with one count of unlawful delivery of methamphetamine and another of unlawful clandestine laboratory operations.

The second charge alleges he possessed ingredients of a controlled substance and intended to engage in a clandestine laboratory operation within 500 feet of a residence, business, church or school.

On Feb. 10, an unnamed informant who had been arrested for possession of meth told two Wyoming Division of Criminal Investigation agents he had been buying the drug from Rivers since July.

Rivers followed the "shake and bake" method to cook the meth he sold, the informant said.

The technique involves shaking a plastic bottle with two liquids in it, a clear red liquid on top of an opaque pink liquid on the bottom, the informant said. He saw Rivers "burp" the bottle to release gas that he described as smelling like cat urine.

Rivers often gave the informant a discount on meth, only charging $100 a gram, if the informant also brought him a box of 96 ephedrine pills, according to the affidavit. Rivers reportedly could not buy the chemical, used in meth production, because he did not have a Wyoming identification card.

The informant conducted a controlled purchase of meth on April 25 after he told a DCI agent he had bought meth from Rivers several more times. On that day, investigators made sure the informant did not have any drugs, gave him $60 and fitted him with a small device that recorded and transmitted audio.

A DCI agent drove the informant to near Rivers's house at 403 Mercantile Street in Dubois. There, the informant and Rivers got into the alleged dealer's vehicle, a 2009 Ford Escape.

As the two drove around, investigators followed and listened in. The informant said Rivers sold a man six or seven prescription Tramadol pills. After about 40 minutes, Rivers dropped the informant off.

The informant gave the investigators a small bindle wrapped in newspaper he said was $20 of meth he bought from Rivers. Investigators weighed the package at .6 gram, and it tested positive for meth.

The drug was in flakes, which investigators believed is the form produced by the shake-and-bake method after straining it through a coffee filter.

Evidence collected in other parts of the investigation reads like a shopping list for cooking the drug.

Looking through the trash at Rivers's residence on April 1 and April 9, Fremont County Sheriff's deputy Jesse Jones found a host of materials used in cooking meth, including empty pseudoephedrine blister packs, empty lithium battery packages, a bottle of lighter fluid, coffee filters and aluminum foil covered in residue, according to an affidavit.

Some of the coffee filters tested positive for containing meth.

During a warranted search of Rivers's home on April 17, DCI special agent Brady Patrick found he lived in a duplex, and a uninvolved family with a 4-year-old child lived below the defendant.

According to court documents, investigators found items that may be used in cooking meth, including jars containing a liquid they suspected of being muriatic acid, other jars holding a pink liquid they could not identify, a plastic bottle containing a white crystalline power and with tubes for venting, a pseudoephedrine package, coffee filters, lighter fluid, drain cleaner containing sulfuric acid and a small glass container wrapped up in aluminum foil, plastic wrap and aluminum foil also containing an unknown pink liquid.

The search also found a substance investigators believe to be marijuana.

"Many of these chemicals that were found in the residence are known to be a part of the process of manufacturing methamphetamine," an affidavit stated.

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