California resident convicted in one of the largest drug busts ever in Wyoming

Published: Jan. 21, 2020 at 3:51 PM CST
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United States Attorney for the District of Wyoming, Mark A. Klaassen, announced today that Rio Linda, California resident Arnold Devonne Butler, 53, has been convicted of possession with intent to distribute controlled substances, including methamphetamine, heroin, cocaine, and fentanyl; and conspiracy to distribute those substances.

Butler was found guilty after a five-day jury trial in the United States District Court in Casper. Butler will be sentenced at a later date by Chief Federal District Court Judge Scott W. Skavdahl. Butler faces a minimum sentence of 15 years.

This case involved a commercial vehicle inspection that resulted in the discovery of nearly 60 pounds of narcotics, including 46 pounds of methamphetamine, two and half kilograms of cocaine, three kilograms of heroin, and a kilogram of the synthetic opioid fentanyl.

On May 14th, 2019 at approximately 10:03 a.m., a Wyoming Highway Patrol Trooper was patrolling eastbound on Interstate 80 near mile marker 373, in Laramie County, Wyoming. He came upon a rollback tow truck traveling eastbound and towing a gray 2017 Ford Fusion 4 door sedan. During questioning, the Trooper became suspicious of Butler’s activities and explanation of his travel. A drug detection dog was called and alerted on the rear passenger compartment of the towed vehicle. The ensuing search revealed the narcotics load in a manufactured compartment between the rear passenger seat and trunk area.

“Unfortunately our highways are being used by drug traffickers to bring addictive substances from smuggling gateways in places like California to distribute them across the nation, in some cases using commercial vehicles to disguise their illegal cargo,” said United States Attorney Mark Klaassen. “We must continue our efforts at all levels of law enforcement to disrupt this flow and protect our communities.”

This case results from a multi-agency investigation conducted by the Wyoming Division of Criminal Investigation, Wyoming Highway Patrol, and the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, and was prosecuted by United States Attorney Mark A. Klaassen and Assistant United States Attorney Stephanie I. Sprecher.

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