38 people arrested in meth distribution bust

Posted at 3:14 PM, Mar 22, 2016
and last updated 2016-03-25 19:34:12-04

The Brown County Drug Task Force just released new details about the arrests of 38- people accused of being involved in the sale of meth stretching across northeast Wisconsin. Police made arrests in Brown, Kewaunee, and Oconto counties early this week and today released the latest details about what they uncovered during their seven month investigation into the meth ring.

The Brown County Drug Task Force has noticed the increase in meth use locally over the last few years. In 2015 they managed to confiscate nearly 3-thousand percent more of the drug off the streets, than in 2013. And with this week’s arrests they've shown how prevalent the problem is.

Two pounds of marijuana and a pound of meth were confiscated during this week's raids. Local law enforcement believing it’s just the tip of the iceberg.

"Users and addicts start to deal a little bit just to support their own habit and then they find themselves dealing larger and larger quantities," says Green Bay Police Chief Andrew Smith.

20 search warrants lead to 38 arrests in total. The Brown County Drug Task Force saying that most are suspected of drug trafficking.

"What that means is that there is a command and control structures much like a business," adds Lt. Kevin Kinnard the Director of the Brown County Drug Task Force.

The meth is said to have been produced and shipped from Mexico before making it to northeast Wisconsin.

"We believe that the Mexican cartels are making an effort to flood the United States with meth and get their share of the money that's available from users," adds Lt. Kinnard.

And while investigators won't say this is an end all to the meth problem. They are saying they believe they sent a strong message to dealers.

"Their gonna hunt you down, come into your house, pull you out of your bed at five in the morning and send you to jail for a long long time," adds Chief Smith.

But as the price of meth falls and heroin costs go up, officers say this won't be the last time you hear about meth in our region.

35 of the 38 arrested are being held at the Brown County Jail right now. Most are charged with possession of a narcotic with intent to deliver.


Updated Friday, March 25, 2016:

In 2014 the Brown County Drug Task Force began observing a noticeable increase in the usage and distribution of methamphetamine in our area. Based on information gathered during investigations, we knew that Brown County, up to that point, had been fortunate in consistently seeing a lower level of methamphetamine usage, distribution, and manufacture than many other areas of the United States.

Due to the noticeable increase, the BCDTF began increasing enforcement efforts by specifically targeting methamphetamine. As a result, seizures of methamphetamine increased 478 percent from 2013 to 2014.

As we moved into 2015, we continued to see an alarming trend with both the increase in the availability of methamphetamine, along with a decrease in the street price. BCDTF continued focusing investigation efforts on methamphetamine. As a result of our increased enforcement efforts, 1,268.67 grams of methamphetamine were seized in 2015. That is over a 435 percent increase from 2014 and an increase of almost 3,000 percent from just two years prior in 2013.

During late summer / early fall of 2015, DTF identified what we believed to be a large scale Drug Trafficking Organization focused on distributing methamphetamine not only in Brown County, but throughout Northeastern Wisconsin.

We quickly realized that BCDTF did not have the capacity to conduct an investigation of this size alone. It was only with the assistance of our law enforcement partners including: the Wisconsin Department of Justice, Division of Criminal Investigation, the United States Department of Justice, Drug Enforcement Administration, and our neighboring drug task force units that made this investigation possible. We also requested the assistance of the Brown County District Attorney’s Office and the Wisconsin Attorney General’s Office for the prosecution aspect of this investigation. It took a tremendous amount of time and energy from each of these agencies to make this investigation possible. We can’t stress enough how grateful we are for everyone’s efforts to dismantle this Drug Trafficking Organization and make our communities a safer place.

The culmination of the investigation occurred on March 22. Over 100 Law Enforcement Officers from multiple Northeast Wisconsin Agencies assisted in serving 20 search warrants in Brown, Oconto and Kewaunee counties.

38 people were taken into custody. Of those, 35 were booked into the Brown County Jail on charges.

The case is still actively being investigated and we anticipate more charges will be referred to the Brown County District Attorney’s Office. If anyone in the public has information they believe relevant to this case, we encourage you to contact the Brown County Drug Task Force.

The Drug Task Force believes this joint effort by law enforcement has created a major disruption in the methamphetamine supply flowing into northeastern Wisconsin. While we are optimistic it will help slow the pace of methamphetamine usage in our area, we realize that the demand created by users ultimately determines whether or not methamphetamine or any illegal substance is available in our community.

To that end, we strongly encourage people struggling with drug addiction to seek help from their family, doctor or another treatment professional before you cause irreversible harm to yourself, your families or anyone else. There are a number of resources available in our communities to assist you.

We also ask the public to contact your local Law Enforcement Agency if you observe or are aware of any ongoing drug activities in your communities. Here in Brown County, if you have suspicions, or observe and have knowledge of drug activity, we ask that you call the Brown County Drug Tip Line at 920-437-DRUG(3784). Please leave a recorded message. Caller’s identities remain confidential. If you’re willing to speak directly to someone regarding your concerns, please leave your name and callback number. Someone will call you back to get details of your information. Due to the large amounts of tips we receive, it may take several days for staff to return your call.

We, along with our neighboring Law Enforcement Agencies, continue to actively investigate drug crimes. If you’re selling drugs in this area, the odds are very good that your local Law Enforcement agency will be paying you a visit in the near future.

Brown County Meth Fast Fact:

Street Price: $100/gram

Historical methamphetamine seizure totals:

2013 41 grams

2014 237 grams

2015 1268 grams

2016 (YTD) 882.57 grams

Total Drug Seizures to Date:

Methamphetamine: 882.57 grams

Marijuana: 8,306.62

Psilocybin Mushrooms: 25.49

Prescription Pills: 26.98 grams

Heroin: .12 grams

Hashish Oil: .76 grams

Cocaine: 3.91 grams

= = =

Updated Friday, March 25, 2016:

GREEN BAY – Earlier this week, the Wisconsin Department of Justice Division of Criminal Investigation, along with the Brown County Drug Task Force and Drug Enforcement Administration, made dozens of arrests as the result of a seven-month-long investigation into methamphetamine distribution.

“I am incredibly proud DOJ’s Division of Criminal Investigation was one of the lead agencies in this multi-jurisdictional drug bust that will make our communities safer,” said Attorney General Schimel. “Wisconsin residents can sleep more easily at night knowing justice is being served to the dozens of criminals who have been trafficking deadly drugs throughout the northeastern part of our state.”

In addition to DCI, the following agencies provided more than 100 officers to serve numerous search warrants in northeast Wisconsin:

·         Ashwaubenon Public Safety

·         Brown County Sheriff’s Office

·         De Pere Police Department

·         Green Bay Police Department

·         Lake Winnebago Area MEG Unit

·         United States Drug Enforcement Administration

·         Wisconsin State Patrol

There were 14 search warrants served in Green Bay; one search warrant each in the villages of Bellevue, Howard, Suamico and Ashwaubenon; and one search warrant served each in Kewaunee and Oconto counties.

Thus far, 38 defendants have been arrested in connection with this investigation and 35 were booked into the Brown County Jail.

NBC26 will cover the Brown County Sheriff’s Office press conference at 10 a.m. this morning in Green Bay and update this story.

= = =

More than 100 officers served 20 search warrants Tuesday as the Brown County Drug Task Force, Wisconsin Department of Justice Division of Criminal Investigation and U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration began making arrests in a seven month investigation into methamphetamine distribution affecting multiple counties in northeast Wisconsin. 

With the assistance of the Brown County Sheriff’s Office, Green Bay Police Department, De Pere Police Department, Ashwaubenon Public Safety, Lake Winnebago Area MEG Unit, Wisconsin State Patrol and SWAT teams from DCI, the Green Bay Police Department and the Brown County Sheriff’s Office Law Enforcement assembled the officers to serve 14 search warrants in Green Bay; one search warrant in each in the villages of Bellevue, Howard, Suamico and Ashwaubenon; one search warrant served in Kewaunee County and one in Oconto County.

In total, 38 people were arrested locally in connection to this investigation and 35 are being booked into the Brown County Jail; most are expected to appear in court on Wednesday. 

The Brown County Sheriff's Office plans to hold a press conference later this week.