Three Men Plead Guilty in Federal Court to Casper-Area Drug Conspiracy
Three men, one from Casper and two from Colorado, recently pleaded guilty to federal drug crimes in a conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine and fentanyl in Natrona County, according to U.S. District Court records.
Cole Douglas Herrick from Casper, and Chad Buchanan and Scott Buchanan from Colorado. entered their pleas on April 27, and Tuesday and Wednesday respectively before U.S. District Court Judge Alan Johnson in Cheyenne.
All pleaded guilty to one count each of conspiracy from July 1 to Jan. 1, 2023, to distribute 500 grams -- 17.9 ounces -- or more of a mixture or substance containing a detectable amount of methamphetamine, and to distribute a mixture or substance containing fentanyl.
This crime is punishable by 10 years to life imprisonment.
However, the federal government said Herrick and Chad Buchanan had been convicted of previous similar crimes, and asked for an enhanced penalty of 15 years to life imprisonment.
Chad Buchanan also pleaded guilty to one count of possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine, and aid and abet, which is punishable by 10 years to life imprisonment.
Scott Buchanan also pleaded to possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine, punishable by 10 years to life imprisonment; possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime, punishable by five years to life imprisonment consecutive to any other crime; and felon in possession of a firearm and ammunition, punishable by up to 15 years imprisonment.
Court records did not detail how federal prosecutors tied three defendants together in the conspiracy, nor did they indicate if Chad Buchanan and Scott Buchanan are related.
Their sentencings are set for later this summer.
Herrick's case started on Aug. 6.
Casper Police officers went to Herrick's room at a local motel, showed him photos of a wanted person, asked if he knew him, and he denied knowing him.
However, officers saw marijuana in plain sight, obtained a search warrant and found a bag with what they believed contained suspected methamphetamine. Herrick also said there was a quantity of 851 grams -- 30.4 ounces -- of meth in his pickup, and officers seized that.
Herrick was arrested and taken into custody.
Scott Buchanan's case started locally on Dec. 1, when a Wyoming Highway Patrol trooper pulled over a pickup on Hat Six Road after a chase on northbound Interstate 25.
The trooper, Natrona County Sheriff's deputies, Evansville Police officers and Wyoming Division of Criminal Investigation agents completed a "high-risk felony stop" and ordered Scott Buchanan out of the pickup.
An agent knew Buchanan had used the pickup since early November.
Agents had surveilled the pickup when it left Denver and traveled to Natrona County that day.
The agent obtained a search warrant for the pickup and found a black safe containing a firearm and a plastic bag containing suspected cocaine and suspected illegal narcotic paraphernalia.
The agent tried to interview Buchanan, but he invoked his constitutional rights. Buchanan was taken to the Natrona County jail.
Law enforcement took the pickup to the Marathon Building where it was searched and found containers and plastic bags containing suspected methamphetamine, suspected fentanyl, suspected cocaine, suspected crack cocaine, used and new syringes, and a firearm coated in suspected meth residue.
Buchanan was charged with multiple drug felonies.
The cases of Herrick and Scott Buchanan were later transferred from Natrona County District Court to the Wyoming U.S. Attorney's Office for the single indictment of the three men.