Riverton man sentenced for meth distribution

    (Casper, WY) – A Riverton man with a reputation as a solid citizen will spend nearly six years in prison for distribution of methamphetamine, a federal judge ruled Friday, according to a report from Oil City News.

    Tobias A. Smith heard the sentence, handed down from Chief Wyoming U.S. District Court Judge Skavdahl.

    “I take full responsibility for my actions,” Smith told the court. “I want to be a role model to friends and family.”


    He had been out on bond, and hugged family members in the courtroom before taking a seat by Federal Public Defender Andrew Francisco.

    On Sept. 20, the grand jury handed up the indictment that charged Tobias with two counts:

    • Possession with intent to distribute 50 grams or more of a substance or mixture containing methamphetamine. The penalties for conviction of this crime are five to 20 years’ imprisonment and not less than four years to life of supervised probation after his release from prison.
    • Possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime. The penalties for conviction of this crime are a mandatory consecutive five years to life imprisonment on top of any other conviction and five years to life supervised probation.

    The crimes occurred on Aug. 23, 2023, according to the indictment.

    On Dec. 4, Smith pleaded guilty to the first count. In exchange, the prosecution agreed to dismiss the second count at sentencing.


    During the hearing, Francisco argued Skavdahl should give Smith a five-year sentence, which would have been on the low end of the possible punishment.

    However, while the second count was dismissed, Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael Elmore wanted an minor enhancement to the punishment because Smith had numerous firearms at his residence, including three pistols — one of which was stolen — in a room with drugs and cash.

    Francisco responded that Skavdahl should dismiss the enhancement because no one knew how accessible the guns were, and no one ever saw Smith with a firearm. The focus of the sentence should be on the trafficking and not whether were firearms were at his residence, Smith added.


    Nevertheless, Skavdahl responded that guns were in the same room with scales and cash, adding that the Denver-based 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled that proximity is important.

    A law enforcement officer who investigated the case said Smith exchanged drugs for one of the pistols, but Smith didn’t know that pistol was stolen at that time, the judge said.

    Skavdahl finally rejected the request for the dismissal of the enhancement.


    Francisco also wanted part of the judgment to not include a section in which Smith would need to detail circumstances of his history of domestic violence.

    Francisco told the court that Smith had been a businessman and landlord in Riverton. He had done well until his addiction — starting at age 10 with regular marijuana use — took over and he lost everything.

    “Addiction is a chronic disease,” Francisco said. Smith was out on bond and in treatment at the Central Wyoming Counseling Center, but had a relapse, Francisco said. “Relapse is part of addiction.”

    Francisco said that this was Smith’s first felony and that he had never been in prison.

    Before handing down the sentence, Skavdahl acknowledged Smith had support from his community and family. However, as addicts often do, Smith turned to dealing drugs to support his habit, the judge said. “You were selling poison.”

    Skavdahl sentenced Smith to 70 months’ imprisonment, which he said was a punishment sufficient but not greater than necessary. He also will have to pay $500 in community restitution and a $100 special assessment.

    The judge urged Smith to participate in a Residential Drug Abuse Program.

    After his release from prison, Smith will be on supervised probation for five years.

    Smith wanted to self-surrender to prison at a later time, but Skavdahl ordered him into immediate custody because of his recent relapse while at CWCC.


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