Mills Man Sentenced To 13 Years In Prison For Having Guns In Drug Crime
A Mills man was sentenced to 13 years in prison for possessing guns during a drug trafficking crime, according to federal court records.
Danny Rust heard the punishment during his sentencing hearing before U.S. District Court Judge Alan Johnson in Cheyenne on Monday.
Rust also was ordered to pay a $1,000 fine and participate in a 500-hour residential drug treatment program.
He will serve five years of supervised probation after he's released from custody, complete a mental health treatment program, participate in a cognitive-behavioral treatment regimen, and obey other probation requirements.
Rust was indicted in March and charged with conspiracy to distribute more than 500 grams (nearly 18 ounces) of methamphetamine, possession with intent to distribute more than 50 grams of methamphetamine, possessing firearms to carry out a drug trafficking crime, and being felon in possession of a firearm. If the case had gone to trial and he had been convicted on all counts, he could have been sentenced to life imprisonment.
Instead, Rust in May pleaded guilty to possessing firearms -- a Glock pistol, a Rossi revolver and a Mossberg shotgun -- to carry out a drug trafficking crime. This is punishable by five years to life imprisonment. In exchange for the plea, the federal government agreed to dismiss the other three counts.
The case started Nov. 27 when a Mills police officer told a Wyoming Division of Criminal Investigation agent about a traffic stop at Fourth Street near Midwest Avenue involving a vehicle that had been traveling erratically. The vehicle also had a large amount of money and drugs, according to the criminal complaint filed in federal court on March 6.
After the female driver pulled over, the officer told her why he pulled her over, and asked for her insurance. The passenger, Rust, opened the glove box and the officer saw a soft drink bottle with a stem on the side. The officer tested the inside of the stem and it tested presumptive positive for methamphetamine.
The officer asked Rust to get out of the vehicle and found a hypodermic needle in his sweat shirt, a glass pipe, a plastic bag with suspected methamphetamine, and a large amount of cash in his wallet.
The driver said there were no other drugs in the vehicle. In her purse, he found a plastic bag with suspected methamphetamine, a syringe, marijuana, cookies believed to contain THC, more meth and more cash.
The officer arrested the driver for drug possession.
He and two DCI agents interviewed the driver and Rust, and both said they used meth daily. The driver said she uses about one gram a day.
The driver said she and Rust traveled weekly to Colorado to buy pound quantities of meth for about $5,000 a pound, then sell quarter-pound amounts for $1,600 to $1,800, and sell it to others in Natrona County.
The suspected methamphetamine weighed about 74.8 grams (2.6 ounces), the suspected marijuana weighed about 0.5 grams, and the cash totaled $4,651.
DCI agents and Mills police later searched the couple's residence on Riverview Avenue and found plastic bags with suspected methamphetamine weighing 8.5 ounces, a small bag with less than 3 ounces of marijuana, two handguns with altered serial numbers, papers with Rust's name, and a 12-gauge shotgun.
Rust was initially charged with possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine.
On March 15, the federal grand jury handed up the indictment with the four counts.
Court records do not indicate what happened with Rust's girlfriend.