NEWS BRIEFS for Monday, Feb. 17, 2020

Federal charges filed against man caught with 12 pounds of meth

GILLETTE (WNE) — Local charges against a 66-year-old Gillette man who was arrested Jan. 29 for having 12 pounds of suspected meth have been dropped after he was charged federally.

It is believed to be the largest confiscation of meth in Campbell County history with an estimated street value of hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Louey Williams, leader of the Northeast Enforcement Team of the state Division of Criminal Investigation, said a federal hold was placed on Raymond Carnahan earlier this month.

As a result, the three local charges against Carnahan — possession of meth with intent to deliver, reckless driving and fleeing or attempting to elude police — were dismissed this past week by District Judge Michael N. “Nick” Deegan.

Carnahan is federally charged with “knowingly, intentionally and unlawfully” working with other people, known and unknown, to distribute 50 grams or more of pure methamphetamine or 500 grams or more of a mixture or substance containing a detectable amount of methamphetamine.

The federal penalty for a first offense is at least 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $10 million.

He also is being charged with possession of cocaine with intent to deliver.

“It’s the largest (meth bust) I can recall,” said Williams, who has worked for DCI for 25 years.

Carnahan had been the subject of a lengthy, multi-agency drug investigation that is ongoing. Further charges and arrests are anticipated.


No jury trial for doctor accused of prescribing opioids without reason

RAWLINS (WNE) — A former Rawlins doctor is facing more than 30 felony charges for prescribing opioids without medical reason will not have to face a jury of his peers.

Dr. David Cesko, who voluntarily gave up his medical license in August 2018, was charged in 2019 with 32 counts of prescribing opioids and other controlled substances for no medical reason. The indictment against Cesko noted that he distributed the medication from 2014 to 2017 “without a legitimate medical purpose and outside the usual course of professional practice.”

The drugs included oxycontin, alprazolam, amphetamines and hydrocodone. Some of the charges included dispensing controlled substances to people under 21 and to pregnant people under 21.

Cesko had previously disciplinary actions from the Wyoming Board of Medicine. The first was in 2005, when he agreed to take courses on prescribing controlled substances and record keeping. He would also be subject to random, unannounced reviews of patient records.His compliance wasn’t properly monitored, so in 2010, he entered into another consent degree for two years.

In 2017, the board suspended his license, noting Cesko “posed an imminent threat to the health, welfare and safety of the people of Wyoming. The board discovered the former physician was prescribing controlled substances to patients for non-legitimate reasons, such as prescribing them to known abusers and offering drugs in exchange for sex.

Cesko is scheduled to enter into a plea agreement with prosecutors and will go in front of a federal judge in Cheyenne on Feb. 26.


Convicted murderer accuses mayor of not doing job

ROCK SPRINGS — A former Green River resident who is serving multiple life terms for murder and attempted murder is alleging the mayor of Green River has violated his oath of office in not responding to letters seeking support in reopening one case.

Steven Mitchell served Mayor Pete Rust with a commercial affidavit by certified letter on Nov. 25, 2019, requesting a response to a separate affidavit stating that during his trial at least one witness was coerced into testifying against him.

Mitchell was convicted in Wyoming state court of one count of first-degree murder and two counts of attempted first-degree murder. He was sentenced to life in prison on each count. He currently is imprisoned in St. Cloud, Minnesota, serving three consecutive sentences.

Mitchell claims his rights were violated on multiple occasions and alleges a state witness was coerced by a Green River police officer into falsely testifying during Mitchell’s trial on March 18, 1997.

Mitchell argues that because he has sent multiple certified letters to the mayor and has yet to receive a response, Rust has refused to perform his duties under sworn oath, which is a violation of public trust. He also says Rust’s silence represents a refusal to defend state and federal constitutions and deprives Mitchell of justice.

When contacted, Rust issued no comment and referred all questions to his City Attorney Galen West, who also declined to make a statement.


Oil pad construction to start near Cheyenne

CHEYENNE (WNE) — Construction of a well pad is slated to start later this month, as EOG Resources, one of the largest oil and gas companies in the country, prepares to start new oil drilling operations in April.

The drilling operation is located east of Cheyenne and north of Interstate 80, near the Triple Crown and Durham Estates neighborhoods.

Last week, EOG Resources held an open house for residents surrounding the drilling area to share concerns, get more information on the process and sign up to have their water quality tested.

In a written statement to the Wyoming Tribune Eagle, EOG communications manager Creighton Welch wrote, “EOG employees are active members of the Cheyenne community, and we work to be as transparent as possible about our upcoming activity.”

A few years back, EOG Resources had plans to drill in the same area, but with four well pads instead of one.

The well pads ended up being close enough to landowners in the area that EOG held off on drilling after hearing residents’ concerns.

Due to EOG Resources consolidating the pads and using directional drilling, the singular well pad that will be constructed will be more than 1,000 feet from the closest residents. According to company representatives, a number of mitigation techniques are being used to minimize the impact on surrounding areas.

The major concerns residents shared about the project were related to water quality, noise and light pollution, flaring and increased traffic.