A federal judge in Wyoming recently sentenced three men, two of them from the Casper area, for their involvement in a statewide heroin conspiracy.

U.S. District Court Judge Scott Skavdahl sentenced Justin Dvorak, 30, of Bar Nunn, Darrell Demas, 27, of Casper, and Justin Dix, 36, residence not identified, for conspiracy to distribute heroin.

Dvorak received two years of imprisonment, and Demas and Dix each received four years of imprisonment. All defendants will serve three years of probation after their release. They also paid fees and restitution.

The case started in June 2014 when the Thermopolis Police Department asked the Wyoming Division of Criminal Investigation to investigate the suspected heroin overdose death of Alexander Herdt, according to an affidavit by an agent with the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency.

Agents found black tar heroin and syringes near his body. An autopsy determined Herdt died of a morphine overdose. Heroin quickly metabolizes into morphine when it enters the body, but it leaves a chemical trace back to heroin.

An analysis of Herdt's cell phone found text messages with Darrell Demas about buying heroin. A subsequent search of Demas' phone found text messages with Christopher Koegl of Cheyenne.

In August 2014, DCI agents found about 65 tin foil squares with residue with black tar heroin in the trash at Koegl's house. A month later, agents searched Koegl's residence and found heroin, currency, a digital scale and pay/owe sheets.

After being advised of his rights, Koegl admitted agents he admitted to be a heroin user and dealer, and that he bought the drug from a source in Denver.

Koegl would meet Demas in Wheatland and sell him heroin there. Based on interviews with Koegl and an informant, agents estimate Koegl bought about 14.5 pounds from his dealer from July 2013 to September 2014.

Koegl and Dix would obtain the heroin from Denver, and Dvorak and Demas would contact them about acquiring heroin and redistribution in central Wyoming.

The federal grand jury indicted Koegl, Demas, Dvorak and Dix in July 2016.

The defendants pleaded guilty in separate federal court hearings in October and November.

Koegl's sentencing is scheduled for Feb. 1.

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