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Documents show ties to local meth dealers from Mexican ring

Sep 10, 2013 - By Eric Blom, Staff Writer

Prosecutors say a group of Fremont County meth dealers had ties with an organization stretching back to the U.S.-Mexican border.

Timothy Pitt, 32, of Hudson, led a ring of methamphetamine distributors, according to an affidavit Fremont County prosecutors filed in Wyoming 9th District Court.

Division of Criminal Investigation special agent Andy Hanson wrote the document based on an investigation including a month and a half of phone taps.

A federal indictment named Cristian Alan Cruz-Avenda, of Salt Lake City, as the leader of a ring of meth distributors crossing the Western U.S. The document stated Cruz-Avenda had the drug transported from the U.S.-Mexican border, through California and Utah, then to Rock Springs.

From there, Cruz-Avenda, codefendants named in the indictment and others sold it in Rock Springs, Green River and Evanston, federal prosecutors allege.

Documents in filed in four cases indicate a Green River woman connected the two organizations. Two documents reveal the first link.

Local connection

The Fremont County affidavit,t and one filed in a second federal case, allege the Hudson man bought meth four times April and May from Maria de la Luz Vargas, 46, of Green River. Vargas on each occasion brought the drugs from Sweetwater County to Pitt's Hudson home.

A fourth affidavit establishes the second connection.

On May 3, Cruz-Avenda told Vargas he would deliver meth to Vargas's Green River home, according to an affidavit Sweetwater County deputy attorney Teresa Thybo filed in Wyoming 3rd District Court based on a DCI investigation.

After several more calls, DCI special agent Russ Schmitt saw Gabriel Martinez-Illesca, 46, of Rock Springs deliver meth to Vargas at a McDonald's restaurant next to her residence.

DCI agents believe Martinez-Illesca distributed drugs with Cruz-Avenda.

A federal complaint against Pitt and Vargas picks up the story. It stated Vargas drove a silver Pontiac Grand Prix to Pitt's residence. A surveillance camera recorded Pitt get in the rear passenger seat and exit three minutes later.

Law enforcement believes Vargas delivered seven ounces of meth to the Hudson man.

Later on May 5, DCI agents saw Vargas meet with Cruz-Avenda outside the C-Store in Rock Springs, according to the Sweetwater County document. Agents saw Vargas enter Cruz-Avenda's vehicle with a plastic bag with a box in it.

When she left the vehicle she had the bag but not the box.

"Agents believed Vargas gave Cruz-Avenda the money she made form delivering methamphetamine to Pitt," the affidavit stated.

Related charges

The federal indictment against Cruz-Avenda lists six charges related to selling meth and money laundering. It names eight codefendants, including Martinez-Illesca, each accused of two to nine crimes.

If convicted, all face up to life in prison. Six of those nine defendants were among 24 people arrested on July 18 in Sweetwater County by multiple agencies on drug charges.

Vargas was also among those 24 but is named in a separate federal complaint along with Pitt. They both face one count of possession with the intent to distribute methamphetamine and another charge that they involved a minor in their crime.

Their penalties could include 20 years to life in prison.

Eight individuals in Fremont County were arrested the same day as Pitt, May 21, or two days later.

Their cases are all in state court on meth charges and face maximum penalties ranging from 12 months in prison up to 20 years.

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