Meeteetse family members charged with meth conspiracy

Posted 7/18/19

A Meeteetse couple and their adult daughter are alleged to have worked together to have a family friend in California ship methamphetamine to their home last year.

Daniel Justice, 57, his wife …

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Meeteetse family members charged with meth conspiracy


A Meeteetse couple and their adult daughter are alleged to have worked together to have a family friend in California ship methamphetamine to their home last year.

Daniel Justice, 57, his wife Sloan Justice, 51, and their daughter Shania Justice, 23, each stand charged with one felony count of conspiring to deliver meth. Shania Justice is also facing a misdemeanor charge of interference with a peace officer for allegedly trying to run away when Wyoming Division of Criminal Investigation agents came to arrest her last month.

The three were arrested in late June and early July, all in connection with a roughly 1-ounce rock of crystal meth that was sent to the Justices’ home in October 2018. Agents with the Wyoming Division of Criminal Investigation say they have evidence that the package was one of several illicit deliveries made to the residence on Arrowhead Drive.

Prosecutors haven’t presented any direct evidence that the Justices were dealing meth. DCI did find a scale and small baggies in Shania Justice’s bedroom that could be used for selling the drug, but primarily, the case relies on the relatively large quantity of meth found in the FedEx package.

“... 28 grams of methamphetamine is generally not an amount obtained for personal use, but rather for distribution,” DCI Special Agent Juliet Fish wrote in a charging affidavit, adding at a preliminary hearing on Thursday that, “That quantity would usually be for dividing up and distributing in smaller increments to make money.”

The California man suspected to have sent the meth to Meeteetse, William “Matt” Gibbons, is a longtime family friend of the Justices who has a history of drug offenses, authorities say. Gibbons has not been charged in connection with the case, as authorities in Los Angeles County — who are seeking his arrest on another matter — have yet to locate him, Fish testified.

Shania Justice, who’s reportedly been cooperating with DCI agents, was arrested in Cody on June 21 and then released on a $10,000 surety bond on July 5.

Daniel and Sloan Justice, meanwhile, remain in custody at the Park County Detention Center, with bail set at $50,000 and $20,000, respectively.

Deputy Park County Attorney Jack Hatfield argued for a higher bond for Daniel Justice, alleging that he’s tried to interfere with the investigation.

After Shania was arrested, Daniel asked another inmate at the jail to tell his daughter to stop talking. That inmate, 35-year-old Alicia Dunn of Meeteetse, had called Daniel Justice from the jail on July 3 to give him a “heads up” that Shania was working with authorities and to “be prepared.”

“[Shania] went out to go talk to her lawyer; she was gone for two hours. She’s cooperating with DCI. They’re telling her to throw you guys under the bus,” Dunn said on the call, which, like most calls from the jail, was recorded and made available to law enforcement.

“I just needed to talk to her and tell her [Shania] to keep her mouth shut,” Daniel Justice responded, adding that “we talked and she didn’t get it.”

While Hatfield contended Daniel Justice was attempting to derail the case — and that his response was “not the act of an innocent person” — his defense attorney, Lindsey Krause Crandall, countered that, “on that phone call, I hear a father that’s worried about his daughter’s constitutional rights.” She noted that he didn’t make any threats.

On the call, Dunn told Daniel Justice to “be prepared.” The following day, on July 4, Park County sheriff’s deputies arrested both Daniel and Sloan Justice.

At the time she phoned Daniel Justice, Dunn had been jailed on allegations that she violated the terms of the probation she’s serving for selling meth in 2015. Now, Dunn has also been charged with two felony counts of accessory after the fact for placing the call and for stealing a page from Shania Justice’s charging documents, in which she was quoted as outlining the arrangement with Gibbons. Dunn is also charged with a misdemeanor count of theft in connection with allegedly stealing the sheet of paper.

As of Wednesday, Dunn was being held in jail on a combined bond of $27,500.


A special delivery

The investigation into the Justices reportedly began on Oct. 12, when an inmate identified as “Confidential Source #76281” told DCI agents that Daniel and Sloan Justice were receiving meth through the mail.

Just a few days later, on Oct. 16, FedEx personnel contacted Cody police to report a suspicious package addressed to a “Stalon Justice” in Meeteetse; a courier reported noticing a “strong” smell of marijuana coming from inside. Powell Police Officer Reece McLain and his K-9 Zeke were eventually summoned and Zeke alerted to the smell of drugs on the package.

Shortly after that, Circuit Court Judge Bruce Waters issued a search warrant allowing DCI to open the box.

Inside, DCI found an Origami kit in a heat-sealed plastic plus roughly six grams of marijuana and a large rock of what appeared to be crystal meth. It weighed 28.1 grams.

The agents seized the drugs, swapping the meth out for some store-bought bath salts, and Fish then delivered it to the Justices’ home on Arrowhead Drive.

The package from “Matt Gibbs” was addressed to “Stalon Justice.” Fish left the package with Sloan Justice, but soon headed back to the residence with other DCI agents and deputies in tow.

The group was spotted on their way up the Justices’ long driveway and when they arrived, they found Sloan Justice locked in the bathroom, attempting to flush the bath salts down the toilet.

Daniel Justice later told Fish that he’d been expecting a package of car parts. When his wife told him that the box appeared to contain drugs, Daniel Justice said he told her to flush them down the toilet.

However, Hatfield, the prosecutor, argued it was an attempt to destroy evidence.

“Why else would she [Sloan] do that? Because she’s part of the conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine in Meeteetse,” he said.

DCI later obtained text messages in which Shania Justice appears to relay concerns from Gibbons to her mother, Sloan.

“Matt says dad taking too long and needs to pick up the pace. 1 a week,” Shania texted on Oct. 11.

Daniel Justice reportedly provided cash the day that Shania picked up and wired to an associate of Gibbons, according to DCI. The package was shipped the following day, Oct. 12.

Shania initially told DCI that Gibbons was dying of throat cancer and that the money was to help him out, but allegedly admitted later that they were paying for shipments of meth.

“She informed me she was doing it for her parents,” Fish testified.

Shania Justice allegedly reported making a “few” payments to Gibbons, usually for a quarter- or eighth-ounce of meth; the box that DCI seized was probably the biggest shipment, she reportedly told Fish.

“Shania Justice stated that she did not know how much money Gibbons was making, but assumed that it was a lot,” the agent wrote.

Fish also testified that in the seized texts, Sloan asks Shania if they’ll be “using the same name,” allegedly in connection with a shipment.

During their Oct. 17 search of Daniel and Sloan Justice’s bedroom, DCI agents and deputies reportedly found a piece of paper that listed five FedEx tracking numbers. They corresponded with five packages that had been sent from the same city in California in June and July 2017.

At two separate preliminary hearings on Thursday, attorneys for Sloan and Daniel Justice attacked the cases against the two — most specifically arguing there’s a lack of direct evidence.

In weighing whether prosecutors had enough evidence against Daniel Justice for the case to proceed toward a trial in district court, Circuit Court Judge Bruce Waters called the situation “kind of interesting” as he pondered whether Hatfield had shown a conspiracy to deliver meth.

“There’s no question that there’s a conspiracy to have controlled substances delivered to the Justice clan … The evidence after that of course is more circumstantial as to what they’re going to do with it. Not a lot of … direct evidence,” Waters said.

However, he thought the state had provided enough material for the case to proceed, meeting the relatively low bar of “probable cause.” Prosecutors will need to prove their case “beyond a reasonable doubt” to convict the Justices, which is a much more stringent burden of proof.

In his ruling, Waters specifically mentioned the scale, the text about things needing to be stepped up to “one a week” and the size of the 1-ounce shipment of meth.

“Obviously, that large quantity is going somewhere,” Waters said.

Daniel and Sloan Justice will next be arraigned in Park County District Court, where they’ll enter pleas to the charges. Shania Justice, meanwhile, is awaiting her own preliminary hearing.