Judge Sentences Casper Man To 40 Years For Drugs, Carjacking, Shooting
A co-defendant in a drug conspiracy case, who with his girlfriend led law enforcement on a high-speed chase resulting in an armed standoff in Casper in June, was sentenced to 40 years of imprisonment on Thursday.
U.S. District Court Judge Scott Skavdahl sentenced Christopher Eads during an hour-long hearing in federal court in Casper.
These are the counts and the amounts of time:
- Conspiracy to distribute heroin and methamphetamine -- 10 years.
- Carjacking and aiding and abetting -- 10 years.
- Carjacking -- 10 years.
- Assault on a federal officer -- 10 years.
- Use and carry a firearm during and in relation to a drug trafficking crime -- five years.
- Discharge of a firearm during and in relation to a drug trafficking crime and aiding and abetting -- 25 years.
Eads will serve the four 10-year sentences concurrently, or at the same time, for a total of 10 years.
The five-year term will be served consecutively -- in addition to -- the four concurrent 10-year sentences, and the 25-year firearms-related sentence will be served consecutive to all other sentences, bringing the total of 40 years.
Three other counts were dismissed at sentencing as part of a deal when Eads pleaded guilty Dec. 11, immediately before his trial was set to begin. Those counts were possession with intent to distribute heroin and methamphetamine and aiding and abetting; discharge of a firearm during and in relation to a crime of violence; and felon in possession of a firearm.
Skavdahl also ordered Eads to pay $600 in special assessments, and $99,741.44 in restitution for damages incurred in the crimes of carjacking and the assault on a federal officer. Of the total restitution, $7,278.35 will be paid jointly by him and his co-defendant Santana Keener.
If Eads, who was 34 when arrested in June, completes the 40-year prison term, he will be placed on four years of supervised release. Half the six counts carried three-year supervised release terms and the other three carried four-year terms. The supervised release terms will be served concurrently.
While not a part of the sentencing, Eads has been linked to other alleged illicit drug-distribution operations in Casper including the recent case of Brandi Jo Darland.
Last week, Skavdahl sentenced Eads' co-defendant and then girlfriend Santana Keener to 20 years of imprisonment -- 10 years for carjacking and conspiracy to distribute heroin and methamphetamine, and a consecutive 10 years for discharge of a firearm during and in relation to a drug trafficking crime.
The case started in April when an agent with the Wyoming Division of Criminal Investigation discovered a drug-trafficking organization in Natrona County, and identified Eads as its main supplier of methamphetamine and heroin, according to court records.
Eads traveled to Colorado on a weekly basis to re-supply and expand the organization. The DCI later placed a tracking device on Eads' sport utility vehicle.
On Saturday, June 3, state and federal agents knew Eads and Keener would be returning from Denver after a drug purchase. They planned to stop them on Interstate 25 before they reached Casper.
Kenner was driving that night, and somewhere between Glenrock and Casper realized she was being followed, and a chase ensued.
The engine of their SUV stalled, Eads started shooting at law enforcement, Kenner started driving again, Eads switched seats and he began driving toward Casper.
He stopped in a median, turned around and drove south toward officers at speeds up to 100 mph even after spike strips blew two tires and officers were shooting at them.
Eads drove into Glenrock.
Officers found the SUV. Shortly after, they received a report of an elderly woman who had been assaulted in her home. Eads took the keys to her car, and drove it through a garage wall, according to court documents.
The car was abandoned in a ditch in Glenrock. Eads assaulted a Glenrock police officer and stole his patrol car.
Eads left Keener in the ditch in Glenrock, too.
She was arrested and taken into custody where officers found heroin on her person.
Eads later crashed the police car, stole another vehicle and drove north on I-25. Officers chased him into Casper.
He stopped at Dayton Transmission on East F Street where the standoff ensued. It ended about 2:30 a.m. Sunday, June 4.
The case started in Natrona County District Court and was later transferred to federal court.