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State Briefs


June 13, 2019

Suspended sentence in bust involving 83 pounds of pot

SUNDANCE (WNE) — Sheng Chang of Wisconsin has received a suspended sentence for a felony charge of possession of marijuana with intent to deliver. Chang was one of two people arrested on U.S. 212 in March, 2018; she was allegedly driving the lead vehicle containing contraband while a “decoy vehicle” followed behind her.

Chang and the decoy vehicle were observed by several Wyoming Highway Patrol troopers, all of whom noted they appeared to be traveling in tandem and contained only one passenger. 

The decoy vehicle, according to court reports, began to drive “erratically in what appeared to be an effort to draw attention and get himself stopped.” One trooper initiated a traffic stop with the rear vehicle and ultimately arrested Lee Her, who is scheduled to be sentenced later this month.

A South Dakota trooper initiated a traffic stop of the lead vehicle and spoke with the driver, identified by her Wisconsin license as Chang. The South Dakota trooper advised he had smelled marijuana coming from the vehicle.

Chang’s vehicle was searched and a large bag discovered on the back seat, covered by a child’s blanket and stuffed animals. The bag allegedly contained several plastic bags of green plant substance.

A second duffle bag in the trunk was allegedly also found to contain bags of plant substance. According to reports, the total weight of the seized marijuana was later estimated at 83 pounds.

Chang pleaded guilty to one count of possession of marijuana with intent to deliver. She was given a suspended sentence of between four and five years pending successful completion of four years of probation and a $2,500 fine.

Man sentenced to prison in theft of more than 30 guns

GILLETTE (WNE) — A 19-year-old Sundance man has been sentenced to 44 months in federal prison for his part in the theft of more than 30 guns from a Gillette pawn shop last summer.

Gabriel Seth Rodgers was convicted of possession of stolen firearms and conspiracy to distribute LSD and marijuana, according the the U.S. Attorney’s Office. His time in prison will be followed by 36 months of supervised release. He also must pay restitution of $27,116.

Rodgers originally had been charged locally in the case for allegedly helping plan a burglary of 4T Pawn in June 2018 and then selling the 29 stolen handguns and three AR-15 semiautomatic rifles in Colorado. Those charges were dismissed so that federal charges could be pursued against him.

Devon M. Gerlosky, who broke into the building, was convicted earlier of possession of stolen firearms and sentenced to 6.5 years in prison.

Gerlosky told investigators he gave the stolen guns to Rodgers and that he believed Rodgers would pay him $3,000 once the guns were sold in Denver.

Gerlosky also said he had previously stolen eight or nine guns from vehicles around Gillette in June and had given them to Rodgers to sell in Colorado, according to court documents.

Another man corroborated Gerlosky’s story, saying he saw Rodgers with a black bag full of guns about 10 hours after the burglary, heard him discuss plans to go to Denver and then saw him leave for Denver in a gray Cadillac Escalade, according to court documents.

Gillette judge holds public defender in contempt

GILLETTE (WNE) — Circuit Court Judge Paul S. Phillips acknowledged to state legislators that he is fining the Wyoming director of the Public Defenders program $1500 per day for contempt.

Phillips was asked by Interim Judiciary Committee Co-Chairwoman Sen. Tara Nethercott, R-Cheyenne, if he was holding Diana Lozano in contempt and fining her $1000 per day since May 23, the day she notified Campbell County judges that her office would no longer represent misdemeanor defendants in cases.

She also notified Natrona County at the same time.

The two jurisdictions are among the busiest in the state.

Phillips clarified to Nethercott that he’s not fining Lozano $1000 per day in contempt for every day the Public Defender’s office doesn’t comply. It’s $1500 a day.

Phillips, who said he has hired his own legal representation, said he felt it would be inappropriate for him to appear Tuesday afternoon when the committee will discuss the issue.

But Nethercott, an attorney, said she wished he would be present and then asked him about his contempt of court measure.

“As the acceleration of the issue increases, I hope you will be here,” Nethercott said in the short exchange.


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