Two Laramie residents were arrested Jan. 4 and charged with several felonies after Division of Criminal Investigation agents investigated a possible narcotics manufacturing operation.
According to a Laramie Police Department release, Kevin Stephens, 44, was charged with manufacture of a controlled substance, conspiring with or aiding another in a clandestine laboratory operation, possession of a controlled substance precursor with the intent to engage in a clandestine laboratory operation and child endangerment. Robalee Gillen, 60, was arrested and charged with conspiracy to manufacture methamphetamine and endangering children.
When the Laramie Police Department receives information about cases involving narcotics manufacturing that information is relayed to Division of Criminal Investigation agents who handle the case, LPD Lt. Gwen Smith said.
“Our protocol here is to have specialized drug agents (investigate) if our officers come across something that would be better handled by someone with a larger knowledge base than what our patrol officers may have,” Smith said.
According to the affidavit of probable cause, DCI agents conducted an interview with a confidential source a LPD officer shared with the agents. During the interview, the agents were told the source purchased Sudafed containing pseudoephedrine Dec. 8 from the Walmart Pharmacy for Stephens, court documents state.
Allegedly, the source told the agents Stephens purchased Coleman lantern fuel the same day he bought the Sudafed and remembered Stephens saying he now had enough ingredients to make his own methamphetamines. The source also remembered Stephens saying he was going to make it in a Prowler camper at a relative’s property, according to court documents.
After the interview, the agents confirmed the source’s information using Walmart security footage, according to court documents. The agents also looked at a Walmart Loss Prevention receipt to see what Stephens also purchased that day and found diabetes test strips, a pill crusher, and plastic cups along with the lantern fuel, all of which could be used in the production of methamphetamine.
The agents later learned the relative was staying at a residence on south 13th Street and conducted surveillance on the property. During the surveillance, the agents noticed a cream colored Prowler camp trailer near the residence, according to court documents.
A search warrant was issued for the home and camper, and agents executed it Jan. 4 and found Gillen in the residence along with the ingredients from the Walmart receipt. Court documents state the agents also found three adults and a juvenile staying in the trailer, but were not involved in the production of the narcotic.
Stephens was later contacted and allegedly told the agents he did make methamphetamine on multiple occasions for personal use, and Gillen was aware of it. When the agents asked about the people staying in the trailer he said it wasn’t a big deal because he was not making the substance while there were staying there, according to court documents.
A DCI agent said federal and state government monitoring of potential ingredients has made it harder for large-scale narcotic production operations to start in the state.
“We have made it increasingly hard to manufacture methamphetamine in the state of Wyoming,” the agent said. “The readily available (ingredients) and stuff like that is very well monitored by the federal government as well as state and local governments.”