SHERIDAN — A man prosecutors described as the embodiment of Sheridan’s underground drug culture was sentenced to between 20 and 30 years in prison Tuesday for his role in distributing methamphetamine to dozens of area residents.
Brandy Lind, 54, was arrested last year and subsequently pleaded guilty to five felony charges of drug possession and distribution.
At his sentencing in district court, Lind did not speak except to answer simple questions intended to gauge his mental competency. He appeared stoic as county prosecutors argued for a lengthy sentence based on his role in supplying the drug.
“He was essentially the poster child for methamphetamine here in Sheridan,” Deputy County Attorney Darci Phillips said.
Lind is among 35 people arrested so far in connection with a multi-year investigation by the Northeast Enforcement Team with assistance from the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency and the Sheridan Police Department. NEET is a regional law enforcement team comprised of officers from the Wyoming Division of Criminal Investigation, the Sheridan County Sheriff’s Office, the Gillette Police Department and the Campbell County Sheriff’s Office.
At Tuesday’s sentencing, Phillips told the presiding judge she had reason to believe that Lind had at least four pounds — or about 1,800 grams — of meth in his possession over the course of the investigation. Personal use amounts range from half a gram to one gram.
Accordingly, attorneys said Lind was instrumental in directly and indirectly providing the drug to an unknowable number of Sheridan area users.
“He knows the system,” Phillips said. “He’s chosen to participate despite the risks because the rewards have always been worth it to him.”
A defense attorney argued in turn that Lind, while admittedly a high-level distributor, was a lifelong drug addict who deserved a certain amount of leniency for waiving his right to a trial and attempting to take responsibility for his actions.
“It’s not like this demand is going to go away because Mr. Lind is off the streets,” Jeremy Kisling said.
Prosecutors, meanwhile, said that while it may prove impossible to ever cut off the influx of illicit drugs entirely, a lengthy prison sentence for Lind might deter others from becoming involved in the trade.
“What we can do is send a message of deterrence here locally so that no one wants to fill the void once (Lind is) sent to the penitentiary,” Phillips said.
Following statements from both attorneys, Fourth Judicial District Judge John Fenn sentenced Lind to two consecutive sets of 10 to 15 years sentences for his involvement in the operation.
“Mr. Lind affected not dozens but probably hundreds of individuals in this community,” Fenn said following his ruling. “You can’t do this — affect this many people and not be significantly punished.”
Investigations by law enforcement officials into meth distribution in Sheridan are ongoing. Two other high-level suppliers are currently awaiting sentencing.
NEET team leader Louey Williams recently told The Sheridan Press that suspects have admitted to distributing at least 15 pounds of meth in the Sheridan area since the investigation began in late 2011.
The drug has a street value of about $16,000 per pound.