News of Riverton, Lander and Fremont County, Wyoming, from the Ranger's award winning journalists.
More progress in meth case; nine suspects now charged
Aug 6, 2013 - By Eric Blom, Staff Writer
An extensive countywide drug investigation involving wiretapping, surveillance and the use of confidential informants led to the arrests.
An eighth defendant in the countywide meth bust in May faces felony drug charges in district court, and misdemeanor charges have been filed against a ninth person who also has ties to the Timothy Pitt distribution ring.
Wyoming 9th Judicial District Circuit Court Judge Robert B. Denhardt bound over charges July 26 against Michaela Tschirhart, 39, who has been charged with two felony counts for possession of a controlled substance -- one for having methamphetamine and one for having Tramadol, a prescription painkiller -- and a misdemeanor charge for possessing marijuana.
Chadwick McDonald, 35, of Riverton, faces a misdemeanor charge for possession of less than 3 grams of methamphetamine.
Law enforcement arrested Tschirhart and McDonald in separate incidents May 21, the same date six other defendants in the case were apprehended.
Wyoming Division of Criminal Investigation special agent Andy Hanson said Tschirhart and McDonald are connected to the other meth ring arrests.
An extensive countywide drug investigation involving wiretapping, surveillance and the use of confidential informants led to the nine arrests.
In an affidavit, Fremont County Sheriff's Office deputy Brady Patrick says the subjects were part of a drug distribution network headed by Pitt, 31, of Hudson. Pitt is another defendant in the case.
The case against the seventh defendant moved to district court July 12.
Anthony Hernandez, 41, of Riverton, faces one count of conspiracy to deliver methamphetamine, a felony punishable by up to 20 years in prison. Police arrested Hernandez on May 24.
The defendant recently waived his right to a preliminary hearing, and Wyoming 9th Judicial District Circuit Court Judge Robert Denhardt bound the charge over to district court. An arraignment has not been set, but it is the next step for Hernandez's case.
In a second affidavit, Patrick said a confidential informant on May 21 advised him a man was at Pitt's residence buying drugs. Patrick saw the man and Tschirhart leave Pitt's residence and enter a white 1991 Buick sedan parked in front the home.
The deputy followed the car south on Wyoming Highway 789 toward Lander and asked the Lander Police Department to conduct a traffic stop.
LPD stopped the vehicle after it entered Lander city limits. Patrick called Wyoming Highway Patrol trooper Brandon Deckert to the scene as well.
During a search of the car's exterior, Deckert's drug detecting dog, Kato, indicated controlled substances were in the vehicle. The trooper searched the car and its two occupants.
Tschirhart admitted to possessing drugs, Patrick said, and produced from her pants 13.4 grams of suspected methamphetamine, two glass methamphetamine pipes, 1.9 grams of suspected marijuana and 18 pills later identified as Tramadol, a controlled substance.
She remains in custody with a $15,000 cash bond and has an arraignment Monday.
Her maximum penalties would be 10 years in prison and a fine of $18,500.
Deckert and Patrick were involved in McDonald's arrest as well.
The trooper picked up McDonald for possession of methamphetamine on May 21, according to a report by sheriff's deputy Charlie Foutz.
On June 17, McDonald pleaded not guilty to the charge and has a trial set for Oct. 4.