By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily
A Cheyenne man arrested after an investigation into a Casper meth dealing operation was found guilty last week of conspiring to distribute methamphetamine and will serve at least 25 years in prison for his crimes, the U.S. Attorney’s office announced this week.
Daniel Patrick Gutierrez, 36, was found guilty by a federal jury of conspiracy to distribute meth, distributing meth, using and carrying a firearm during and in relation to a drug trafficking crime and being a felon in possession of a firearm.
Gutierrez’ trial was held over five days, from March 21 to March 25, in Cheyenne and he will be sentenced in June.
Because Gutierrez was convicted twice in the past on charges of distribution of controlled substances, he faces an enhanced mandatory minimum sentence of 25 years for the meth distribution charges, which will be served in addition to a mandatory minimum 5-year prison sentence for using firearms during and in relation to a federal drug crime.
In addition, Gutierrez could be ordered to pay up to $10 million in fines.
According to court documents, Gutierrez was arrested as the result of a Wyoming Division of Criminal Investigation into the use and distribution of meth in Natrona County that began in December 2020.
The investigation identified Joseph Hooker as a source for the drug in Natrona County and agents determined he was getting the drugs in Cheyenne and Colorado.
In January 2021, a DCI agent received a search warrant to begin tracking Hooker’s cell phone GPS data, which showed he traveled to Cheyenne and returned the next day to Casper. He was arrested that same day and was found with almost one-half pound of methamphetamine and two semi-automatic pistols.
Agents then obtained a search warrant for Hooker’s phone, which revealed numerous conversations between Hooker and Gutierrez related to the use and distribution of controlled substances, as well as the collection of money.
The investigation indicated Hooker and Gutierrez worked together to obtain meth on six separate occasions, obtaining six to nine pounds of meth during that time.
In August, police searched Gutierrez’s home in Cheyenne and he was taken into custody on a warrant from Natrona County.
After Gutierrez was taken into custody, he told agents he did not want to speak with them, but also questioned how he could be charged in Casper for a crime, as he claimed he had not “stepped foot” in the city and did not live there.
An agent told Gutierrez that he did not have to live in the city to be charged with conspiracy to distribute drugs. Gutierrez said he hadn’t “sold” to anyone in the city, but then recanted and admitted to selling to “a couple” of people in Casper.
During the search of Gutierrez’s home, agents found two rifles, various ammunition, small quantities of suspected meth, suspected fentanyl pills and drug paraphernalia.
An informant told police he or she traveled with Gutierrez and Ashley Gutierrez to the Thornton, Colorado, area to obtain meth from a source. The informant said the first time they went to Colorado, Daniel Gutierrez took an AR-15 and two pistols with him to trade for the drugs.
The informant said Gutierrez “ran a gun ring” in Cheyenne and explained that he would trade meth or fentanyl pills to juveniles and adults in the city in exchange for firearms, including stolen ones.