Casper Woman Pleads Not Guilty to Four Meth Felony Charges
A Casper woman pleaded not guilty to four felony methamphetamine-related charges during her arraignment in Natrona County District Court on Tuesday.
Vanesa Jessica Saputra, 30, is charged with conspiracy to deliver methamphetamine and three counts of delivery of methamphetamine. Each count is punishable by up to 20 years imprisonment.
Saputra quietly entered the pleas with her Cheyenne attorney Marci Linde beside her.
She remains in custody on a $25,000 cash or surety bond.
In the conspiracy count, she is accused of working with Cindy Williams and others in a local drug distribution ring.
Williams and four other defendants were charged, convicted and sentenced in federal court in the past year.
U.S. District Court Judge Skavdahl has sentenced Cindy Noella Williams, William Floyd Hassock, Michael Burton Williams (no relation to Cindy Williams) and Julio Gasca-Nieto for their roles related to the conspiracy that operated from July 1, 2017, to March 15, according to court records.
All federal defendants received at least 10 years imprisonment.
The case started in the summer of 2017 when the Wyoming Division of Criminal Investigation was investigating a drug trafficking organization in Wyoming and Colorado, according to an affidavit filed in Natrona County Circuit Court in January. The case later was turned over the Wyoming U.S. Attorney's Office, except for Saputra.
Cindy Williams, Michael Williams, Gasca-Nieto and Vanessa Saputra were identified among the alleged co-conspirators. (Saputra was not named in the federal indictment. Hassock and Brisson were named in the federal indictment, but not in the Natrona County Circuit Court affidavit.)
After a controlled buy of methamphetamine from Saputra by an undercover agent in September 2017, DCI agents interviewed her in October. After being read her rights, she said Cindy Williams and would either sell her or front her the drug in 1-ounce quantities at $300 per ounce.
Law enforcement agents surveilled Cindy Williams' house in east Casper, learned she would obtain methamphetamine in Denver, and re-distribute it in Casper and Cheyenne.
On Dec. 26, agents learned she had about $13,000 to buy about 2.5 pounds of the drug from Gasca-Nieto.
Later that day, agents saw Cindy Williams and Michael Williams, and Gasca-Nieto's wife drive to parking lots at two east Casper fast food restaurants, where they appeared to exchange money and drugs. Gasca-Nieto's wife did not know of her husband's drug trafficking.
Law enforcement agents moved to arrest them.
Michael Williams tried to drive away, but was blocked by vehicles of law enforcement. Williams ran, an officer took him down, and he told the officer he had a gun. After he was taken into custody, he was found to have a loaded .38 Special in his pants.