CHEYENNE – Two men charged with cocaine distribution in Cheyenne have both reached plea deals that could keep them out of jail.
Sean Flannigan and Wesley Benson were arrested and charged with cocaine and crack distribution in Cheyenne last year. Flannigan pleaded guilty April 22 in Laramie County District Court to two of the seven charges he faced. The guilty plea was part of a deal that had the Laramie County District Attorney’s Office seek two two- to four-year sentences suspended for three years of probation.
Benson was set to plead guilty Monday to six counts related to cocaine and crack distribution in return for a 10- to 15-year sentence that would be suspended for 10 years of probation. He also was set to plead guilty to a charge of sexual abuse of a minor that stemmed from the investigation into his and Flannigan’s drug dealing.
The 10- to 15-year sentence in that sexual abuse case would also be suspended for another 10 years of probation.
But Benson’s change-of-plea hearing was delayed due to confusion and a potential typo in his plea agreement document. He is set to appear again in court for a change-of-plea hearing May 20.
The judge in each of the cases can ignore the plea deals reached and impose the maximum sentence for all the charges. Benson faced up to 20 years for each of his four felony charges, along with several misdemeanors, and a maximum of 15 years for the sexual abuse charge.
Flannigan faced three felony charges that had a maximum of 20 years each, along with several misdemeanors.
According to court documents, the Wyoming Division of Criminal Investigation started to look at Flannigan as a suspected drug dealer around June 2018 after several people in his neighborhood reported suspicious activity.
Flannigan’s apartment on an alleyway in the 3400 block of Dillon Avenue in Cheyenne was frequently visited by foot and car traffic at all hours of the night, with many people only stopping by for a few minutes.
An undercover officer was introduced to Flannigan, and proceeded to initiate a purchase of 1 ounce of cocaine for $1,400. Benson ended up delivering the cocaine to the undercover officer, offered to sell them more cocaine and said he had the ability to help turn the drug into crack.
The next purchase the undercover officer made from Benson and Flannigan was for an ounce of cocaine, about half an ounce of crack and a handgun for $3,150.
The officer initiated a purchase of 3 ounces of cocaine, which Benson was set to deliver Aug. 1. He instead was arrested near Chugwater while trying to deliver the cocaine. Flannigan was arrested a short time later.
In the course of the investigation, law enforcement searched Benson’s cellphone and found text messages indicating he had a sexual relationship with a 15-year-old boy. The youth told police he had been given drugs on a few occasions by Benson and had a brief physical relationship with him.
Benson alleged he believed the 15-year-old was over 18, which the youth said was untrue.