Indictments continue in Central Wis. Meth distribution conspiracy
The list of federal indictments as a result of an ongoing multi-agency investigation into the distribution of Methamphetamine in Central Wisconsin and Eastern Minnesota, was extended once again last week.
Friday morning, US Attorney for the Western District of Wisconsin John W. Vaudreuil announced grand jury indictments charging 29-year old David Vance-Bryan of Moose Lake, MN and 41-year old Michael Kjonaas of Oakdale,MN, with conspiring to Distribute Methamphetamine and to Possess Methamphetamine with Intent to
Distribute. The indictment alleges the conspiracy involved more than 500 grams of Methamphetamine. Both men face a mandatory minimum prison sentence of 10 years in prison and a maximum sentence of life in federal prison. With this indictment, 19 people have now been charged with conspiring to distribute Methamphetamine in Central Wisconsin since June of 2013.
13 of the 19 indicted are from the Merrill and Wausau areas, including David Drake and David Brandenburg, both 26 of Merrill.
The pair were indicted in July for conspiring to Distribute Methamphetamine and Possession of Methamphetamine with Intent to Distribute.
Those indictments alleged the conspiracy to involve more than 500 grams of Methamphetamine.
In an interview with the Merrill Foto News following those indictments, Vaudreuil issused a very clear and blatant message to Central Wisconsin residents.
“I can say with a a high level of certainty, additional indictments are forthcoming,” he stated
“Not only in Central Wisconsin but outlying areas as well. If I was dealing, or in any way involved with the sale or possession of Methamphetamine in central Wisconsin I would be thinking about this.”
The list of indictments as part of the investigation include:
1. Joseph Kujawa, 37, Oakdale, Minn.;
2. Kyle Quintana, 23, St. Paul, Minn.;
3. Jacob Loose, 24, Wausau, Wis.;
4. Patrick Keenan, 29, Wausau;
5. Jaimie Pankow, 32, Wausau;
6. Anthony Rogers, 24, Wausau;
7. Andrew Nelson, 31, Merrill;
8. Karen Zais, 48, Merrill;
9. Paul Rasmussen, 34, Osseo;
10. Christopher Schmeltzer, 45, Merrill;
11. David Brandenburg, 25, Merrill;
12. Matthew Drake, 25, Merrill;
13. Ryan Thomas, 23, Wausau;
14. Jonas Ellwart, 23, Wausau;
15. Danny Graap, 50, Beloit;
16. Joshua Graap, 31, Merrill, and;
17. Christina Abbott, 34, Hatley, Wis.
To date, three defendants have pled guilty.
Anthony Rogers pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court in Madison on August 23, 2016, to conspiring to distribute over 500 grams of Methamphetamine. At the plea hearing, Rogers admitted that he and Kyle Quintana began dealing Methamphetamine in mid-2013.
Their source of supply was Quintana’s cousin, Joe Kujawa, from Oakdale, Minnesota. Rogers and Quintana travelled to Minnesota to pick up the Methamphetamine, or Kujawa had drivers deliver to Quintana at his home in Wausau. Rogers was taking half of the load and selling it with Jacob Loose, while Andy Nelson and Karen Zais took
the other half.This continued until law enforcement executed a search warrant at Nelson’s and Zais’s home in June 2014.
U.S. District Judge James Peterson scheduled Rogers’ sentencing for November 8, 2016, at 10:00 am.
Rodgers faces a mandatory minimum of 10 years, and a maximum of life in federal prison.
Andy Nelson and Karen Zais pleaded guilty to conspiring to distribute over 500 grams of Methamphetamine on September 14, 2016.
At their plea hearing, Nelson and Zais both admitted they sold Methamphetamine from their home in Merrill. Nelson admitted they distributed 873 grams of Methamphetamine from June 2013 to June 2014.
U.S. District Judge James Peterson scheduled Nelson’s sentencing for December 7, 2016, and Zais’s sentencing for November 29, 2016.
Nelson and Zais face a mandatory minimum of 10 years and a maximum of life in federal prison.
Three other defendants have signed plea agreements and are scheduled to enter guilty pleas this month in U.S. District Court in Madison.
Paul Rasmussen, and Jacob Loose are each scheduled to plead guilty to conspiring to distribute over 500 grams of Methamphetamine.
Chris Schmeltzer is scheduled to plead guilty to conspiring to distribute over 50 grams of Methamphetamine. Schmeltzer’s plea is scheduled for October 21.
Paul Rasmussen and Jacob Loose are both scheduled to enter guilty pleas on October 28. Rasmussen and Loose face a mandatory minimum of 10 years and a maximum of life in federal prison.
Schmeltzer faces a mandatory minimum of five years and a maximum of 40 years in federal prison.
Jonas Ellwart and Ryan Thomas were indicted on August 3, 2016 and their trial is set for March 13, 2017 in U.S. District Court in Madison.
Danny Graap, Joshua Graap and Christina Abbott were indicted on August 24, 2016 and their trial is set for April 3, 2017.
Thomas faces a mandatory minimum of 10 years and a maximum of life in federal prison, while Ellwart faces a maximum of 20 years in prison.
Danny and Joshua Graap each face a mandatory minimum of 10 years and a maximum of life in federal prison, while Abbott faces a mandatory minimum of 5 years and a maximum of 40 years in federal prison.
With the exception of Nelson, Zais, Brandenburg, and Schmeltzer, all of the charged defendants are in federal custody. This investigation is ongoing.
The charges against these defendants are the result of an investigation by the Wausau office of the Wisconsin Department of Justice- Division of Criminal Investigation; the Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office; the Wausau office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation; the Drug Enforcement Administration; the Marathon County Sheriff’s Office-Special Investigations Unit; Wausau Police Department; and IRS Criminal Investigation. The prosecution of this case is being handled by Assistant U.S. Attorney Daniel Graber.
Please be advised a ‘charge’ is merely an accusation and that a defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty.