GREEN RIVER — Brad Byerly, 34, of Green River, became the latest member of a methamphetamine trafficking ring to be sentenced to prison for his involvement in the operation.
Byerly was one of 26 people arrested in 2019 on one count of conspiracy to deliver meth and three counts of meth delivery in the sting that involved multiple law enforcement agencies in southwest Wyoming and crossed several western states.
Byerly was sentenced to 4-7 years in the Wyoming State Penitentiary on one count of possession with intent to deliver and one count of conspiracy to deliver meth during a hearing in Third District Court yesterday afternoon. Those sentences will run concurrently.
Wyoming Division of Criminal Investigation Special Agent Cody Ruiz testified that the investigation began in August 2018 after DCI received information that a large amount of meth was being trafficked in Sweetwater County through a pawn shop on North Front Street in Rock Springs. Law enforcement targeted Alexis and Albert Morgan as the head of the drug ring. After obtaining a search warrant to tap Albert Morgan’s phone, DCI discovered Bylery was a high-frequency correspondent with the pawn shop owner.
Ruiz said DCI arranged a meth buy from Byerly through a confidential informant on September 6, 2018. Byerly told the informant he was out of town but he could meet “his guy” for the transaction at the Ace Hardware store in Rock Springs. The buy was to be for seven grams with a street value of $550.
Further surveillance showed Byerly showing up frequently at the pawn shop, Ruiz said. A separate investigation showed Byerly was also traveling to Colorado to purchase meth for distribution.
Byerly was arrested on a warrant on August 20, 2019, after being pulled over on his motorcycle while attempting a meth delivery to the informant, according to Ruiz. He added that Byerly had 19 grams of meth on him at the time of his arrest, and another 14 grams were later discovered at his home.
Despite emotional character testimony from himself, his father, and sister, Judge Suzannah Robinson told Byerly that probation was not appropriate in this case. Deputy County Attorney Teresa Thybo read a long list of his criminal history in her closing statement beginning in his late teens.
“These are not mistakes, these are poor choices. Poor choices that went on for a number of years,” Thybo said.
She also pointed out that Byerly has struggled with substance abuse most of his adult life, and while not on the same playing field as the Morgans, it’s “not from a lack of trying.” Thybo said Byerly consistently failed to take responsibility for his actions by blaming DCI for its “orchestrated plan” to arrest him.
Alex Breckenridge, Byerly’s attorney, argued his client has been clean since posting bond and is taking steps to get his life back together. However, Robinson stated during sentencing that he left a non-court ordered rehabilitation stay against the advice of his attorney and then “shopped around” for an evaluation that would not require him to have so much treatment.
The state argued for a 10-15 year sentence for the crimes, but Robinson settled on the final sentence partly because Byerly does not have any prior felonies, and he has started substance abuse treatment. Albert Morgan is scheduled for his argued sentencing in the case on Thursday, September 3.