$5.7 million of meth distributed in central Wisconsin, 19 people - WAOW - Newsline 9, Wausau News, Weather, Sports

$5.7 million of meth distributed in central Wisconsin, 19 people charged

Department of Justice Department of Justice

A three year investigation by local, state and federal law enforcement resulted in 19 people pleading guilty to conspiring to distribute $5.7 million of methamphetamine, according to a release from the Department of Justice.

Meth was sold in Wisconsin communities including Wausau, Merrill, Medford, Abbotsford, Owen, Athens, Eau Claire, and Osseo, U.S. Attorney John W. Vaudreuil said. The drugs were brought in weekly from the Minneapolis/St. Paul area by a large operation, according to the DOJ.

The marketing plan of the operation was to flood the area with a cheap and pure version of the drug in a effort to create more addicts, leading to more customers, according to the DOJ.

Demand for the drug increased in late 2015 and into 2016 where trafficking increased to two to three pounds a week being brought into central Wisconsin, the Vaudreuil said.

The 19 people charged made up a network of suppliers, drivers, wholesalers and street distributors, according to the DOJ.

Joe Kujawa, 37, of Oakdale, Minn. was the source of the supply, with David Vance-Bryan, 30, and Mike Kjonaas,41, both of St. Paul being drivers.

Kyle Quintana, Anthony Rogers, Jacob Loose, Paul Rasmussen and Patrick Keenan were named as wholesalers in Wisconsin.

Karen Zais, Andy Nelson, Jaimie Pankow, Chris Schmeltzer, Matt Drake, Ryan Thomas, and Jonas Ellwart were named as distributors.

Danny Graap, Josh Graap and Christina Abbott were named as street-level distributors.

14 of the 19 people have been sentenced, and the remaining five will be sentenced in the next 60 days, Vaudreuil said.

Total sentences result in 158 years in federal prison.

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