From the pages of
Sublette Examiner
Volume 7, Number 28 - October 4, 2007
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Three Labarge Residents Charged In Major Meth Investigation

by Janet Montgomery

Last week, three LaBarge residents were arrested on drug trafficking related charges through the U.S. Attorney’s Office along with 32 other Wyoming residents, while three others are still at-large, as a result of a multi-agency investigation. The investigation involved interconnected methamphetamine trafficking groups operating in southwestern and central Wyoming to include the areas of Riverton, Rock Springs, Green River, Casper and LaBarge, according to a release. The groups also operated in other areas of Wyoming, Utah, Arizona and the Republic of Mexico, according to a release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office out of Cheyenne.

Barbara Davis, 48, of LaBarge, is charged with conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute, and to distribute meth; distribution of meth and aiding and abetting; interstate and foreign travel in aid of an unlawful activity; and use of a communication facility to facilitate a felony drug offense.

Clarence Rex Burnell, 56, of LaBarge, is charged with conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute, and to distribute meth; and distribution of meth and aiding and abetting.

Carolyn Starkey, 47, of LaBarge, is charged with conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute, and to distribute meth; and interstate and foreign travel in aid of an unlawful activity.

John R. Green, acting United States Attorney for the District of Wyoming; JeffreyD. Sweetin, special agent in charge of the Rocky Mountain Division of the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA); Forrest Bright, director of the Wyoming Division of Criminal Investigation (DCI); and Doug NoSeep, chief of theWind River Police Department (Bureau of Indian Affairs, BIA) announced on Sept. 25 the major meth investigation resulted in federal charges against 38 people with 35 arrestsmade.

Three people facing federal charges are still at large, according to the release. Agencies aiding in the investigation include Drug Enforcement Administration, Bureau of Indian Affairs, Wind River Police Department, Wyoming Division of Criminal Investigation, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Riverton Police Department, Lander Police Department, Fremont County Sheriff’s Office, Rock Springs Police Department, Sweetwater County Sheriff ’s Office, Wyoming Highway Patrol, Natrona County Sheriff ’s Office, Casper Police Department, Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, United States Marshals Service, and the United States Attorney’s Office District of Wyoming. According to the release, charges against the defendants indicted federally include drug trafficking, firearms, money laundering and immigration crimes. All charges can be found in Titles 21, 18 or 8 of the United States Code (USC).

Depending on the charge and the amount of drugs the defendants are alleged to have trafficked, they face prison terms of anywhere from 10 years to life.

The release also noted that the charges are only allegations, and the defendants are presumed innocent unless or until proven guilty, and the government always has the burden of proving guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. Public Information Officer for the US Attorney’s Office John Powell said Monday, “All the indictments in the case are still sealed.”

He said all 35 defendants have not yet had initial appearances, which will take a couple of weeks, but then the files should be opened.

“This week we will be finishing the remaining few detention hearings,”Powell said. “This week and next should see the defendants in custody arraigned in District Court. Following the arraignments, we should see some future trial dates set.”

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