LADYSMITH – Eleven people have been charged in a methamphetamine drug conspiracy case in Rusk County.
The individuals live in Wisconsin and Minnesota and have been charged with conspiracy to distribute more than 50 grams of meth, all as a second or repeat offense, with the potential penalty if convicted up to 40 years in prison, plus another two to six as a repeat offender.
The individuals charged in the 47-page criminal complaint are:
> Steven A. Betro, 61, of Rosholt.
> Jacob C. Channell, 37, of Ladysmith.
> Barrington M. Daniel, 53, of Red Wing, Minnesota.
> Cody D. Dewitt, 30, of Ladysmith.
> Rita D. Hryniewiecki, 44, of Ladysmith.
> Casey J. Kieleszewski, 35, of Plover.
> Jeffrey H. Murphy, 57, of Ladysmith.
> Brittany N. Prestwood, 31, of Ladysmith.
> Maliki R. Sandley-Wangner, 27, of Ladysmith.
> Nicholas G. Witt, 27, of Ladysmith.
> Tyler J. Zimmerman, 30, of Rudolph.
During the investigation law enforcement seized 18 firearms, more than $17,000 cash, 3 pounds of meth, and two pounds of THC.
The investigation was led by the Wisconsin Department of Justice (DOJ) Division of Criminal Investigation (DCI) and the Rusk County Sheriff’s Office. They were assisted by the Drug Enforcement Administration, Eau Claire County Sheriff’s Office, Goodhue County Sheriff’s Office (Minn.), Ladysmith Police Department, Plover Police Department, Portage County Sheriff’s Office, Red Wing Police Department (Minn.), Washington County Sheriff’s Office (Minn.), Central Wisconsin Drug Task Force, Wisconsin Department of Corrections, and the Wisconsin Statewide Intelligence Center.
The lead investigators are Rusk County Sheriff’s Office Investigator Riley Kummet and DCI Special Agent Shawn Sutherland.
The prosecution is led by Rusk County District Attorney Annette Barna. The case was also supported by DOJ regional drug prosecutor Assistant Attorney General Chad Verbeten. These regional prosecutors were created by 2017 Wisconsin Act 261, part of the HOPE legislation, to assist local law enforcement with major criminal investigations such as complicated drug conspiracies. The state prosecutors collaborate with law enforcement to develop investigative strategies and support local district attorneys with valuable caseload assistance and a level of expertise in drug conspiracy prosecutions.
As in any criminal proceeding, the individuals charged are presumed innocent until proven guilty.