Wyoming Highway Patrol FILE.jpg

A Wyoming Highway Patrol vehicle is pictured in this file photo. WTE/file

CHEYENNE – A man who was arrested and charged with dealing methamphetamine in Laramie County was found guilty Friday after a five-day jury trial in the Casper federal courthouse.

Arnold Devonne Butler was charged federally with possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine. The charge carries a maximum penalty of life in prison and a $10 million fine. He was also later charged in a superseding indictment in a conspiracy with intent to distribute illegal narcotics.

Based on collaborative investigative efforts dating back to May 2019, Butler was later additionally charged when a search warrant was executed in California that found nearly 100 pounds of methamphetamine and other narcotics.

Armando Tabarez of Sacramento, California, was also charged in connection with this case in the eastern district of California. Tabarez is believed to be the source of the methamphetamine Butler was arrested with May 14.

The Drug Enforcement Administration, Federal Bureau of Investigation Safe Streets Taskforce in Sacramento, Wyoming Highway Patrol and Wyoming Division of Criminal Investigation all participated in the investigation.

DEA Resident Agent in Charge David Tyree of the Cheyenne Resident Office said he believes this to be one of the largest methamphetamine seizures in Wyoming. He also said it’s an outstanding example of how law enforcement collaboration can work together to disrupt and dismantle drug trafficking organizations back to their sources of supply.

Butler’s sentencing hasn’t been scheduled at this time.

According to court documents:

On May 14, 2019, a Wyoming Highway Patrol officer was traveling eastbound on Interstate 80 in Laramie County. During his patrol, he noticed a truck without a U.S. Department of Transportation number posted on it.

In addition, the car that was strapped to the flatbed of the truck had straps that were loose and fraying. For these reasons, the trooper decided to stop the truck.

Butler was the only person in the truck during the stop, and was being “borderline belligerent” with the officer. When the officer questioned him about why he was transporting the car, he said he was doing it for a friend, but then later changed his story and said he was getting paid $2,000.

A drug detection K9 was later called to the scene and alerted officers that it detected narcotics. When officers searched the vehicle, they found 41 packages of suspected methamphetamine, two packages of suspected heroin, two packages of suspected cocaine and one package of an unknown substance. This totaled more than 50 pounds of narcotics that were seized.

Later in the investigation, text messages were found between Tabarez and Butler about suspected drug delivery/exchange information. In the messages, Tabarez said he was storing drugs in his “trap house.”

Officers then conducted a search of the “trap house” and seized nearly 100 pounds of narcotics.

Isabella Alves is the Wyoming Tribune Eagle’s criminal justice reporter. She can be reached at ialves@wyomingnews.com or 307-633-3128. Follow her on Twitter at @IsabellaAlves96.

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