An OC Couple was indicted this week as part of a suspected interstate methamphetamine trafficking ring, including a Catholic priest from Connecticut.
Chad McCluskey, 43, of San Clemente and Kristen Laschober, 47, of Laguna Niguel were arrested this month. According to their Facebook pages, they're in a relationship.
The priest, Kevin Wallin, 61, is the former pastor of a church in Bridgeport, Conn.
According to federal and Connecticut state officials, a federal grand jury in Bridgeport, Conn. returned an indictment Tuesday charging three Connecticut men and two California residents with conspiring to distribute methamphetamine. The case is part of a joint investigation by the Drug Enforcement Administration and the Connecticut State Police’s Statewide Narcotics Task Force.
The investigation included the use of court-authorized wiretaps, controlled purchases of methamphetamine, physical surveillance and the use of an undercover officer. The investigation revealed Kevin Wallin of Waterbury, Conn., allegedly received shipments of methamphetamine from individuals in California.
An undercover officer allegedly purchased methamphetamine from Wallin on six occasions between September 2012 and January 2013.
“This case is a model for cooperation between federal and state law enforcement agencies,” stated U.S. Attorney David B. Fein. “The hard work of the DEA and the Connecticut State Police in this case resulted in the dismantling of what we allege was a significant methamphetamine distribution organization that spanned from California to Connecticut.”
The indictment charges the five individuals with one count of conspiracy to distribute 500 grams or more of a mixture and substance containing methamphetamine, and 50 grams of actual methamphetamine. The others arrested are Kenneth Devries, also known as “Lyme,” 52, of Golden Hill Street, Waterbury, Conn.; and Michael Nelson, 40, of Buckland Hills Drive, Manchester, Conn.
The indictment also charges Wallin with six counts of possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine. Wallin and Devries were arrested on criminal complaints on Jan. 3, 2013.
According to statements made in court, a court-authorized search of Wallin's residence revealed suspected methamphetamine, as well as items that government alleges are drug paraphernalia and drug packaging materials.
McCluskey and Laschober were arrested on criminal complaints in Las Vegas, Nev., on Jan. 10, 2013.
Nelson was arrested yesterday after the indictment was returned. All five defendants are currently detained, and the investigation is ongoing. If convicted of the charge of conspiracy to distribute 500 grams or more of a mixture and substance containing methamphetamine, and 50 grams of actual methamphetamine, each of the defendants faces a minimum term of imprisonment of 10 years, a maximum term of imprisonment of life and a fine of up to $10 million.
If convicted of the charge of possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine, Wallin faces a maximum term of imprisonment of 20 years and a fine of up to $1 million, on each count.