Eight Charged in Extensive Casper Meth Ring
A Casper man is facing federal meth conspiracy charges while seven of his alleged associates are facing conspiracy charges in Natrona County District Court.
Charging documents say Michael "Money Mike" Perez (34) was the conspiracy's ring leader. If Perez is convicted in federal court, he could face up to life behind bars.
Also charged with conspiracy to deliver methamphetamine at the state level are Amanda Rodriguez (34), Makayla Helms-Pickett (24), Benjamin Ralph Wentz (29), Blake Creekmore (25), Kristopher Hodgins (32), Kenneth Lee Dalton (53) and Jerry Lane.
With one exception, all defendants at the state level have been bound over to district court. An arrest warrant for Jerry Lane has not been returned as of Friday morning, so he has yet to be brought before a judge.
According to an affidavit of probable cause, Wyoming DCI agents interviewed Wentz at a home in the 400 Block of South McKinley Street in Casper. Wentz allegedly told agents that he'd recently sold meth and that he sold it to "anyone and everyone who wanted some." Wentz also told investigators that Rodriguez was his main source.
Wentz allegedly said he had been selling methamphetamine since he was released from jail in April.
Agents seized Wentz's phone and saw several drug-related conversations between Wentz and Rodriguez.
DCI agents cite a specific text message Creekmore sent to Wentz requesting $30 worth of methamphetamine. Speaking with investigators, Creekmore said he met Wentz in jail and Wentz told him he could get Creekmore methamphetamine any time he wanted it.
Creekmore also allegedly told agents that he got his methamphetamine from Dalton before selling it.
Investigators interviewed Rodriguez again on Oct. 11. During the interview, Rodriguez allegedly said Perez sold methamphetamine in one-ounce quantities. She also said the methamphetamine another person was caught with came from her.
The affidavit says a confidential informant told agents that "Money Mike" was a source of Dalton's methamphetamine. The source also said Hodgins was selling methamphetamine to Keith Crackaal and that "Money Mike" was another source for Crackaal.
Multiple sources told investigators that Jerry "Rocky" Lane was a primary source of methamphetamine to redistribute. However, some sources reported having a "falling out" with Lane, so they took their business to Perez.
Agents got a search warrant to review Dalton's text messages.
On Oct. 23, the affidavit says, agents interviewed Helms-Pickett who said she got methamphetamine from Crackaal and would also drive Crakall around to sell meth.
"Money Mike" was named as a common source in numerous interviews.
According to the federal complaint, police were called to the Ramada Plaza - Riverside in Casper Oct. 6 for a report of drugs. The caller additionally said a man and a woman were sitting outside of the hotel. The man was counting cash and had a "suitcase full of money," according to the caller's account.
Police officers went inside the hotel and found Perez walking on the second floor. When asked to stop, Perez allegedly resisted before he was taken into custody.
The complaint also says Perez had $5,825 in cash in his vehicle along with marijuana and a scale with suspected methamphetamine residue on it. Authorities also found various drug paraphernalia.
After the arrest, investigators learned that Perez "carries heavy." One informant reportedly told DCI agents that Perez also had "thousands of dollars in his pockets."
In another instance, Perez was at a source's house when Perez pointed a gun at the source.
"(Informant) stated Perez, 'Got so f----- up that he and K.D. wanted to shoot, so Money Mike brought guns out,'" the complaint says.
The informant described the guns as being a sawed-off shotgun along with a separate pump-action shotgun.
Another witness allegedly told DCI agents that Money Mike was the "main boss" in the meth ring.