24 Charged In Extensive Drug, Gambling Case

MILWAUKEE (AP) — Two dozen people are facing federal charges after authorities uncovered an extensive drug and gambling ring that spread across five U.S. states and Canada, federal prosecutors said Thursday.

More than $1.3 million in cash, along with marijuana, jewelry, guns and several vehicles, were seized during an investigation that spanned Wisconsin, Minnesota, Washington, California and Illinois, said James Santelle, the U.S. Attorney for eastern Wisconsin.

Hundreds of pounds of marijuana were transported from suppliers in Seattle and Vancouver, British Columbia, to Minnesota, southeastern Wisconsin and northern Illinois, Santelle said. Couriers also transported cash, including illegal gambling proceeds, back to the marijuana suppliers.

Investigators said 20 men and three women were arrested May 24 on charges ranging from conspiracy to racketeering. The suspects range in age from 25 to 61. The last suspect, a Los Angeles man, remains at large.

The indictment was unsealed Thursday but handed down May 17.

“We did some great work up here and we want to assure we are going to follow these leads where ever they take to us, whether it be to our foreign partners or to other states that previously hadn’t been involved,” Jack Riley, special agent in charge of the Drug Enforcement Administration in Chicago, said at the news conference, flanked by Milwaukee police, federal investigators and others.

Riley said he’s seen a trend of marijuana coming out of British Columbia over the last several years that is more potent and more expensive. He said law enforcement appears to be making progress because prices have skyrocketed in parts of the five states he oversees.

Santelle said law enforcement got a tip about a year ago out of Washington that led to the investigation, which also included a sports betting operation that generated tens of thousands of dollars weekly in Wisconsin and Illinois.

The group used text messages to send odds on sporting events and bets were placed within minutes, said Assistant U.S. Attorney Daniel Sanders, who is prosecuting the case. Santelle said the gambling case was the first of its size in decades out of his office and it likely won’t be the last.

Also seized were about 25 pounds of marijuana, marijuana packaging materials, drug trafficking and gambling ledgers, and a bullet proof vest, Santelle said.

Seventeen people were charged with conspiring to possess with the intent to district more than 1,000 kilograms of marijuana. Seven of those and six more were charged with operating an illegal gambling business. Two men were charged with interstate travel in aid of a racketeering enterprise.

None of the suspects was singled out as leading the operation in the indictment, which offered few specifics.

Riley, who has worked in drug enforcement for 25 years, said he hasn’t seen cooperation work as well as it did in this effort.

“You can feel real good about the people that are out there day in and day out risking their lives because they are really are committed to making things happen and this is a great example,” Riley said.

(© Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

Comments

One Comment

  1. Good Ol Boy says:

    This is what we pay cops to stop? Betting on ballgames and pot smoking? No wonder the country is going to hell in a handbasket…

    1. Fact says:

      The betting and pot smoking was the excuse, the true target for the cops was that $1.3 million they seized. Playing military dress-up isn’t cheap

  2. Todd W. Olson says:

    Both are crimes. If you don’t like it, write your congresswoman.

    1. Good Ol Boy says:

      Good thing being Todd W. Olson isn’t a crime. You’d write your congresswoman and she’d send the FBI and ATF to your home and never consider your suggestion.

      See how that works?

      What if marrying someone of the same sex was a crime and they start hauling gays off to prison? Think it can’t happen?

      Just because something’s illegal, doesn’t make it wrong.

      1. Joey Olson says:

        I like this guy. Just legalize the gambling and weed. I can play scratch offs, go to casino, or easily bet online with absolutely no consequences. But if I go to someone’s house who decides to buy some fancy tables it’s illegal. Only if you make real money it’s illegal. Why not tax me and give me a permit. Then we all win and no one gets hurt. FYI cigarettes killed about 450k in U.S. last year and alcohol 125k not including fights and drunk driving. If terrorist killed 1000 in US each year, you will see rights stripped with the quickness. Weed killed 0 people ever. Except the criminals fighting over it to get wealthy. Use your brains you stuck up politicians.

      2. Dale Gribble says:

        You sound like another weak on crime, pro-gay, anti-American DemocRAT.

      3. Todd W. Olson says:

        Once again, the Good Ol Boy gets to have it both ways. He gets to be a smug, sanctimonious and morally superior representative of moral authority on one hand, and he gets to claim that the powers at be (who absolutely thrive on the support of the smug and sanctimonious) are oppresors who step on the likes of lil’ ol’ him.
        Good Ol’ Boy, we know you’re perfect. Your kids are perfect, and you live the perfect life. We know this because you’ve told us. If only everyone were just like you.

        1. factdealer says:

          Good ol boy is a bartender, 50ish and nothing, he used to be eastside evil. p.s. he makes 100k plus a year lol

      4. @fake good ol boy 100k says:

        Good ol boy aka Eastside Evil, If they don’t allow same sex marriage, then no marriage will be considered legal, so how could they be arrested if its not official, you’re such a waste of typing it kills me.

  3. jeff says:

    there are murderers and child molesters running around free, but we devote our time to this? are you kidding? what a complete waste

  4. Wot Woo says:

    Stupid cops, go find some real criminals to harass!

    http://www.privacy-web.no.tc

  5. Steve says:

    PLEASE GO TO THE LINK BELOW TO SIGN THE PETITION TO END THE MADNESS AND SUFFERING THAT THIS POINTLESS WAR HAS BROUGHT TO COMMON PEOPLE ALL OVER THE WORLD. WE DESERVE BETTER, WE DESERVE A COUNTRY THAT RESPECTS FREE CHOICE AND EDUCATES IT’S PEOPLE ON THE POSITIVES AND NEGATIVES THAT DRUGS WILL HAVE. THIS WILL END THE ORGANIZED CRIME KILLINGS AND CORRUPTION DRUGS INEVITABLY BRING TO COUNTRIES ALL OVER THE WORLD. NANCY REAGAN WAS WRONG, PEOPLE CAN MAKE THE INTELLIGENT DECISION FOR THEMSELVES WHETHER OR NOT TO TRY OUT CERTAIN DRUGS.
    CLICK ON THE LINK BELOW TO SIGN THE PETITION AND DEMAND AN END TO THIS INSANITY, CALL FOR AN END TO THE VIOLENCE AND AN END TO THE CORRUPTION, AND FOR A NEW BEGINNING FOR WHAT SHOULD HAVE NEVER CHANGED, PERSONAL FREEDOM. GOD BLESS, PLEASE GOD OF ALL THAT IS GOOD, PLEASE CHANGE THE LAWS THAT OPPRESS THE GOOD PEOPLE.
    http://www.avaaz.org/en/end_the_war_on_drugs/?fp

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