Casper Man Will Get At Least 25 Years for Federal Drug Crimes
A Casper man will spend at least 25 years behind bars after pleading guilty to methamphetamine and cocaine distribution charges in federal court in Cheyenne on Monday, according to court records.
Marcus Morris will serve that time because the government sought an enhanced penalty if he was guilty of those crimes within 15 years of previous similar convictions, according to court records.
Morris initially was charged with 14 drug distribution counts in Natrona County Circuit Court in July, and was later bound over to District Court for trial. Those counts included distribution of methamphetamine, cocaine, fentanyl and oxycodone, according to the affidavit accompanying the charges in the state district court case.
But the federal government took over the case and the grand jury indictment on Nov. 17 charged him with four counts:
- Conspire to distribute 500 grams or more of a mixture or substance containing a detectable amount of methamphetamine, distribute 50 grams or more of actual methamphetamine, and distribute cocaine and fentanyl.
- Distribute 50 grams or more of actual methamphetamine.
- Distribute 50 grams or more of a mixture or substance containing a detectable amount of cocaine.
- Possession with the intent to distribute 50 grams or more of actual methamphetamine.
On Monday in federal court, Morris pleaded guilty to counts two, three and four. Count one will be dismissed at his sentencing, according to the minutes of the change-of-plea hearing.
The indictment also mentioned his prior convictions for cocaine and methamphetamine distribution in Wyoming and Texas.
In December, the Wyoming U.S. Attorney's Office further spelled out the enhanced penalties based on his previous convictions.
If Morris was convicted of the first or second or fourth counts, he will receive a minimum mandatory 25-year sentence. He would receive a minimum mandatory 10-year sentence if he was convicted of only the third count.
U.S. District Court Judge Alan Johnson set Morris' sentencing date for June 15.
The case began in March 2022 when the Wyoming Division of Criminal Investigation's Central Enforcement Team opened an investigation into the suspected use and distribution of illicit controlled substances in Natrona County, according to the Circuit Court affidavit.
Law enforcement identified Morris as a large local source of methamphetamine, cocaine and fentanyl.
The DCI conducted eight controlled purchases of those drugs from Morris between March and May 2022.
On June 30, law enforcement obtained and executed a search warrant of Morris' residence on Jim Bridger Avenue.
The search yielded:
- Approximately 340.3 grams of presumptively positive methamphetamine.
- Approximately 27 grams of presumptively positive cocaine.
- Approximately 5.6 grams of suspected oxycodone.
- Approximately 5 grams of psilocybin mushrooms.
- Charter Arms revolver.
- Taurus G2s handgun.
- Approximately 23 grams of suspected marijuana.