The nicknames roll off the tongue and make you think of westerns: Old Man, Pops, Bobby Jo and Cowboy. Good Wyoming names, made for cattle drives and horseback. But these folks won’t be going on trial for a saloon brawl or rustling cattle – they are among 50 arrested for a major western methamphetamine network.
A three State round-up earlier this summer continues to generate news as each set of new defendants comes to trial. The latest set of ten faces a court date in mid December. The charges range from possession of the drug all the way up to multiple counts of trafficking. The sentences will be even more severe if the conspiracy element sticks.
While much of the information remains under seal, more than nine pounds of methamphetamine was seized in raids across Wyoming, Utah and Colorado in June along with $100,000 in cash and assorted firearms [ Billings Gazette].
Perhaps it shouldn’t be a surprise that the cowboy stereotype of a hardworking, solid citizen – rough but pure – is so off the mark. It seems no one is really immune to the lure of money. Television shows broke this barrier years ago. Weeds, the story of marijuana in middle-class suburbia, and Breaking Bad, a high school chemistry teacher dealing meth are two examples.
The whole thing is just a bit more tawdry and less exciting when it happens in real life. Some of the defendants are facing life in prison. Most have multiple felony charges against them.
Unlike television shows, where everyone goes home after filming an episode, these people have real wives and children – the innocent victims. It’s truly hard to fathom recovering from even a 10 year prison sentence. Be thankful, if you are in recovery from this horrible scourge, that it could have been worse. Much worse.
So last year’s heroin busts in Wyoming weren’t just a fluke. The drugs are out there. And the cowboys are singing the blues.