By Jim Angell, Cowboy State Daily
A Gillette woman accused of running a major methamphetamine distribution operation in northeastern Wyoming faces a sentence of up to life in prison.
Wendy Kaufman has been charged in federal court with conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine, accused of bringing up to 25 pounds of the drug into the state every two weeks. At least twice, the affidavit said, a shipping company delivered a vehicle carrying meth to Kaufman.
In an affidavit filed in federal court, Derek Brazelton, a special agent with the state Division of Criminal Investigation, reported on an investigation into Kaufman that continued for more than a year.
During the investigation, which began in August 2020, a confidential informant told investigators he believed Kaufman was “supplying the whole state” with meth, bringing 25-pound packages of the drug into Wyoming from Arizona every two weeks.
Various informants told the DCI that Kaufman would drive from Gillette to Arizona with an individual identified only as “C.H.” to obtain methamphetamine.
On at least two occasions, informants said, vehicles containing methamphetamine were shipped to Kaufman.
The informants said they bought varying amounts of Kaufman, with one saying he bought 36 pounds of meth during a 1-year period.
The affidavit said one informant told investigators Kaufman had earlier obtained the meth from Colorado, but a price increase blamed on coronavirus prompted her to seek a new supplier.
“Due to Covid, the prices from that (supplier) went from $300 per ounce to $1,200 per ounce,” the affidavit said. “Due to the increase in price, Kaufman stopped using that (supplier).”
The affidavit also noted that Kaufman was identified in February as having dropped a clear plastic baggie containing about four-tenths of an ounce of meth inside a Gillette bank.
According to documents filed in federal court, Kaufman could face a sentence of 10 years to life in prison and fines of up to $10 million.