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Two Sheridan men plead guilty to federal charges after highway patrol seized 1.97 pounds of meth

Ewing T. Kerr Federal Building, Casper, Wyoming (Library of Congress, Carol Highsmith)

CASPER, Wyo. — Two Sheridan men entered guilty pleas in federal court on Thursday to charges of possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine and aiding and abetting the distribution of meth.

On March 3, 2022, Jeffery Michael Johnson, 32, and Michael Shae Kelli, 22, were pulled over by the Wyoming Highway Patrol on I-80 near Rawlins for speeding, according to an affidavit.

After speaking separately with both men, “it was apparent that [Kelli’s] and Mr. Jonson’s travel plans were not consistent,” the trooper’s report said. A K-9 unit alert led to a search of the vehicle, which yielded 1.97 pounds of crystal meth.

Both men entered guilty pleas at the Ewing T. Kerr Federal Building and U.S. Courthouse in Casper before District of Wyoming Judge Scott Skavdahl. The charge carries a penalty of 10 years’ to life imprisonment.

Kelli may be eligible for a sentence as short as 63 months under federal “safety valve” calculations that allow for sentences shorter than the mandatory minimum for first-time, nonviolent drug offenses. Attorneys agreed to ask for the mandatory minimum of 10 years for Johnson.

The court will not be bound by these agreements when it considers sentencing in December.

When entering his plea, Kelli told Judge Skavdahl that he was promised a debt would be cleared if he agreed to transport the drugs. Kelli will remain out on bond until his sentencing. Johnson remains detained in the Platte County Detention Center.