Thermopolis Man Who Sabotaged Trial Of Accused Meth Dealer Faces New Charges

A convicted meth dealer from Thermopolis who sabotaged another alleged meth dealer's trial by refusing to testify at the last possible moment now faces a new federal charge of dealing fentanyl in Cheyenne.

Clair McFarland

May 30, 20233 min read

Thermopolis Police car 4 29 23

A Wyoming methamphetamine dealer who ruined the trial of another alleged drug dealer by refusing to testify against him is now facing new criminal charges.  

The federal government has charged Michael Guzman, 39, with possessing fentanyl in Cheyenne while intending to distribute it, a charge punishable by between five and 40 years in prison if he’s convicted.  

Guzman hasn’t been out of prison long, according to his January 2020 sentencing terms, where District Court Judge Bobbi Overfield sentenced him to prison for a term of three to seven years for possessing methamphetamine in the Thermopolis area. He also lived in Thermopolis before that prosecution. 

A Hush Descends 

While he remained in prison in 2021, Fremont County prosecutors called Guzman to testify against alleged meth dealer Alfonso Roman, who is now 34.   

But Guzman and another potential witness, Charles Lambert, both went silent the moment they got to the witness stand. They had shuffled into court one at a time, clad in orange and bound in chains.  

Each invoked his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination, refusing to testify against Roman.  

Fremont County District Court Judge Jason Conder released Lambert from his subpoena.  

But attorneys squabbled over Guzman and whether Conder should force him to testify by holding him in contempt of court. The judge appointed experienced attorney Sky Phifer, who came briefly out of retirement, to defend Guzman’s Fifth-Amendment right.  

Meanwhile, prosecutors scrambled and got Wyoming Attorney General Bridget Hill to draft an immunity agreement — a promise meant to encourage Guzman to testify against Roman.  

Ultimately, Judge Conder said he could compel Guzman testify, but only if prosecutors could prove that whatever Guzman had to say against Roman had been essential to the case all along.  

They did not prove that, Conder ruled.  

A Little Sparring 

Roman’s defense attorney appeared pleased when the trial fell apart. 

“The state … trusted a witness who had every right to plead the Fifth, and once he did, it’s game over,” said defense attorney Jonathan Gerard at the time.  

Tim Hancock, Fremont County deputy attorney, countered, saying the other potential witnesses whom he chose not to subpoena — leading him to depend on Guzman — also had conflicts and concerns.  

“I appreciate Mr. Gerard armchair quarterbacking,” said Hancock sarcastically.  

Hancock told the media later that he regretted Guzman and Lambert would not “have the courage to stand up to a drug dealer.”  

Gerard’s reaction was the exact opposite.  

“What the judge did was protect the constitutional rights of the witnesses, and the defendant, and the parties,” he said. “The Fifth Amendment right not to incriminate yourself is in the Bill of Rights, right up there with freedom of speech.”  

Conder allowed the state to drop its charges three days later.

Contact Clair McFarland at

Share this article



Clair McFarland

Crime and Courts Reporter