UPDATE: Drug ring took two years to bust
By KVOW/KTAK News Director Leslie Stratmoen
RIVERTON, Wyo. – Fremont County Attorney Brian Varn said the drug investigation called Operation Angry Sun that led to 35 indictments started two years ago.
Named in that bust was Gerardo Rico-Holguin, the owner of Austin’s Steakhouse in Riverton. He was indicted Friday on five counts, including delivery and conspiracy to deliver marijuana, cocaine and methamphetamine.
Authorities targeted his home on Riverview Road in mid September during a highly visible visit evident by several law enforcement vehicles on the property. His charges carry a maximum punishment of 80 years in prison and $95,000 in fines.
Twenty-eight others had been arrested on drug charges by Friday afternoon. They are Betsy Walter, Mario LeGardia, Casey James Nowlin, Alfonso Roman, Tina Jenkins, Erik Jovanny Ochoa-Pena, Justine Hickerson, Jessica Martin, Jack Knapp, Melissa Christopherson, Samuel Corbett, Stephanie Ratliff, Bridgette Spoonhunter, Rori Swarthout, Bryce Sebring, Fortino Sanchez-Pena, Cheyenne Morland, Joshua Hartman, Jon Treadway, Douglas Johnson, Sidney Berry, Aaron Underwood, Virgil Behan, Chantry Casey, Lynden Bell, Mona Lisa Ybarra, Jakota Wolfname and Michael Hall.
The indictments were passed down by a Grand Jury that met locally earlier in the week. The county attorney said it marked the first time for a Grand Jury to convene in the county in the past 20 years.
The operation was implemented by the Northwest Enforcement Team of the Wyoming Division of Criminal Investigation. It’s a group made up of law enforcement officers from the sheriff’s offices of Fremont and Park counties, the Riverton, Lander and Powell police departments and the BIA Drug Enforcement Unit.