On October 6th, 2020, Federal District Court Judge Alan B. Johnson sentenced former Wind River Reservation Chief Tribal Court Judge Terri Smith and her sister, Jerri Lee Smith, on federal drug charges.
Terri Smith, 35, of Arapahoe, was sentenced for conspiracy to distribute oxycodone and distribution of cocaine. She received six months of imprisonment, to be followed by thirty-six months of supervised release, and ordered to pay community restitution in the amount of $500.00 and a $200.00 special assessment.
Jerri Lee Smith, 35, of Salt Lake City, Utah was sentenced for conspiracy to distribute oxycodone, conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine and cocaine, and possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine. She received fifty-one months of imprisonment, to be followed by forty-eight months of supervised release, and ordered to pay community restitution in the amount of $400.00 and a $300.00 special assessment.
“No one is above the law, even those in positions of trust,” said U.S. Attorney Mark Klaassen. “Instances of public officials being caught up in criminal activity are thankfully rare in Wyoming, but we will remain vigilant to ensure that all citizens are treated equally under the law and held accountable, regardless of their position.”
Agents with the FBI, Bureau of Indian Affairs, and the Wyoming Division of Criminal Investigation began an investigation into suspected drug activity and trafficking in 2018, after several traffic stops by the Wyoming Highway Patrol led to the discovery of quantities of methamphetamine, oxycodone, and cocaine.
A variety of investigative resources were used to determine that Jerri Smith and Terri Smith had been obtaining oxycodone in Utah and were selling them in Fremont County and on the Wind River Reservation. Additionally, the investigation uncovered that Jerri Smith was also obtaining methamphetamine and cocaine in Utah then distributing and selling it in Wyoming. At the time of the investigation, Terri Smith was the Chief Tribal Judge on the Wind River Reservation. She later resigned from her position.
“Today’s sentencing of Tribal Judge Terri Smith and her sister is a step forward in identifying public officials and private citizens who commit federal crimes and victimize the community members of the Wind River Indian Reservation,” said FBI Denver Special Agent in Charge Michael Schneider. “Public officials who engage in violations of federal law, to include drug trafficking, erodes the public’s confidence in government. Investigating these individuals is one of the FBI’s top criminal priorities. The FBI Denver Division would like to extend its appreciation to the Rocky Mountain Safe Trails Task Force, Bureau of Indian Affairs, Wyoming Division of Criminal Investigation, and U.S. Attorney’s Office, District of Wyoming for their invaluable assistance in this investigation.”