[PRESS RELEASE -THURSDAY, DECEMBER 17, 2009] Cheyenne Troopers have made several significant arrests and seizures of illegal drugs during the last week on Wyomings roadways.
Three separate incidents have resulted in the arrests of 4 individuals and the seizure of 1.25 pounds of hashish, 69 pounds of marijuana, 4 glass containers of marijuana butter extract and just over $5,800.00 in U.S. currency.
Not all the events leading up to the arrests began as traffic stops as most people would think.
The first of the events began on Friday, December 11th at mile post #12 on WYO 72, or approximately 4 miles north of Elk Mountain, a Trooper stopped behind a vehicle pulled over onto the highway shoulder that appeared to be a motorist needing assistance. Upon contact with the driver, 40 year-old Edward Gregory, he seemed to be extremely nervous. He handed the Trooper the vehicles car manual for the vehicle registration. He then handed the Trooper some paperwork showing that he had failed to appear in court and thought that was his temporary drivers license.
As if those two mistakes were not bad enough, a Wyoming Highway Patrol K-9 then alerted to the outside of Gregorys rental vehicle. In the back seat Troopers discovered 4 big duffle bags loaded with individual vacuum sealed bags of high grade marijuana. Total weight of the seizure of high grade marijuana was approximately 54 pounds.
Gregory, who stated he was from Santa Rosa, California, was arrested and has been charged with felony possession of a controlled substance and possession of a controlled substance with intent to deliver. His bond has been set at $50,000.00.
It is believed that Gregory was enroute from Santa Rosa, California to Baltimore, Maryland. The street value of the marijuana is approximately $432,000.00.
The second event occurred on Saturday, December 12th approximately 10 miles east of Lyman on westbound Interstate 80. 48 year-old Joe Campbell of Colfax, California, was arrested for misdemeanor marijuana possession. Upon a search of his vehicle Troopers discovered an envelope in the door pocket of the rental vehicle that contained just over $5,800.00 dollars.
Campbell could not come up with a legitimate reason as to why he had so much cash. It is believed that the currency came from assets that were derived from, or were used to facilitate criminal activity. The currency could have been proceeds from drug trafficking activities, organized crime or money laundering.
The exact undisclosed amount will be held for a period of approximately 6 months for the rightful owner to file a claim for the money. If no one files a legitimate claim during that time period the currency will then begin an asset forfeiture proceeding.
The asset forfeiture proceedings could take an additional 6 to 8 months. The case has been turned over to Special Agents with the Division of Criminal Investigation.
Campbell was coming from Minnesota with a final destination in California.
The third event occurred on Monday, December 14th, approximately 1 mile east of Wamsutter on eastbound Interstate 80. Troopers were on scene
and working a prior crash at that location when the driver of a second vehicle lost control of his vehicle and skidded up to the rear of the stopped highway patrol vehicle.
When Troopers walked back to the vehicle to check on the vehicle occupants they could smell the odor of marijuana coming from inside the vehicle. Troopers searched the inside of the vehicle and discovered a big black duffle bag in the back seat of the vehicle.
Inside the duffle bag the found wrapped packages that appeared to be Christmas presents. Upon opening the Christmas presents the Troopers discovered approximately 15 pounds of high grade marijuana, 1.25 pounds of hashish and 4 glass jars filled with marijuana butter extract.
The vehicles two occupants 22 year-old Samantha Ridgeway and 28 year-old Andrew Burger have been arrested and have been charged with felony possession of a controlled substance and possession of a controlled substance with intent to deliver.
The 15 pounds of high grade marijuana would have a street value of approximately $120,000.00, the hashish would have an approximate street value of $11,340.00. Marijuana butter is made by cooking the marijuana and regular butter at a high temperature. The resulting product is then used for cooking. It is difficult to really put a street value on the end product due to unknown amount or THC content of the butter.
Ridgeway and Burger were enroute from Salt Lake City, Utah with a final unknown location in their home town of Decatur, Illinois.
The Wyoming Highway Patrol continues their investigation in all of the above cases. Troopers are being assisted by Special Agents with the Wyoming Division of Criminal Investigation.