While most people would not immediately identify central Wisconsin as an illegal drug hotbed, law enforcement authorities there say they've arrested several people in Waushara County who participated in a heroin distribution ring. Two of the men implicated in the crime are also being charged in connection with a woman's fatal drug overdose.
The woman who died was found outside a Redgranite, Wisconsin, home back in April. She had suffered an acute heroin overdose, according to the autopsy report. And although she may have used the heroin voluntarily, two men are being charged with first-degree reckless homicide as a party of a crime, as well as conspiracy to deliver heroin. If convicted, the men could be sentenced to 80 years in prison and $200,000 in fines.
The heroin charges extend to six other people, five of whom were charged with conspiracy to deliver heroin, a charge whose conviction comes with a 40-year prison sentence and a $100,000 fine. The sixth person was charged with delivery of heroin, which could result in a maximum 12 years in prison and $25,000 in fines.
A criminal complaint says that one of the men charged with homicide gave heroin to the victim, and that the two snorted it together the night before she died. The man told police that the other man facing homicide charges supplied the heroin to all of the people indicted in this case. That man would charge them $2,250, which they would pay him after selling the drugs, the complaint says.
Some of the suspects in this case have admitted to their crimes, while others claim only partial responsibility. Perhaps most troubling are the homicide charges, considering that the woman who overdosed didn't appear to have snorted the heroin by force. Despite the fact that she likely took the drugs under her own will, two men are being blamed for her death.
In drug cases like these, where many defendants are involved and harsh sentences threaten to put them in prison for several decades, defendants can greatly benefit from working with a criminal defense attorney who knows Wisconsin's drug laws and has experience working with prosecutors to negotiate a sentence that truly reflects an individual defendant's role in a crime. If you're implicated in a serious drug crime, finding such an attorney is a far better alternative to simply taking your chances at trial.
Source: TheNorthwestern.com, "Two charged in Waushara County drug death; six others with heroin distribution ring," Jennifer K. Woldt, Aug. 22, 2012
· Our firm handles situations similar to the one described in this post. To learn more about our practice, please visit our Milwaukee drug crimes page.