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Manchester Man Indicted in Methamphetamine Distribution Ring Involving Bridgeport Priest

A federal grand jury indicted five people, including three Connecticut men, on charges of conspiring to distribute methamphetamine Tuesday.

Update, 11:55 p.m., January 16, 2013 

One of the five men indicted Tuesday by a federal grand jury in a methamphetamine distribution ring was a Bridgeport priest, according to a statement released Wednesday by the Diocese of Bridgeport. 

According to the statement, Kevin Wallin, 61, who was accused of receiving shipments of the drug from two suppliers in California, was a priest on sabbatical from the Diocese of Bridgeport who left in 2011 because he was "struggling with a number of health and personal issues." 

Original Story

A 40-year old Manchester man was among five people indicted Tuesday by a federal grand jury sitting in Bridgeport on charges of conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine, according to United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut David B. Fein. 

In a release, Fein said that Michael Nelson, 40, of Buckland Hills Drive in Manchester, was one of five people involved in a methamphetamine distribution ring that saw three Connecticut men receive shipments of the drugs from two people in California. 

Among those charged in the case were: 

Kevin Wallin, 61, of Waterbury, who is facing charges of one count of conspiracy to distribute 500 grams or more of a mixture and substance containing methamphetamine, and 50 grams of actual methamphetamine, as well as six counts of possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine. 

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Nelson, who is charged with one count of conspiracy to distribute 500 grams or more of a mixture and substance containing methamphetamine, and 50 grams of actual methamphetamine, as one as six counts of possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine. 

Kenneth Devries, 52, also known as "Lyme," also of Waterbury, with one count of conspiracy to distribute 500 grams or more of a mixture and substance containing methamphetamine, and 50 grams of actual methamphetamine. 

Chad McCluskey, 43, of San Clemente, CA, who was charged with one count of conspiracy to distribute 500 grams or more of a mixture and substance containing methamphetamine, and 50 grams of actual methamphetamine. 

And Kristen Laschober, 47, of Laguna Niguel, CA, who was charged with one count of conspiracy to distribute 500 grams or more of a mixture and substance containing methamphetamine, and 50 grams of actual methamphetamine. 

Fein said that the investigation was a joint effort between the Drug Enforcement Administration and the Connecticut State Police’s Statewide Narcotics Task Force, and included the use of court-authorized wiretaps, physically surveillance, and undercover officers who made controlled purchases of the drug.  

“This case is a model for cooperation between federal and state law enforcement agencies,” Fein said. “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.”

All five remain in custody, according to Fein, and the investigation is ongoing. 

Conviction on the charges means the suspects would face a minimum term of imprisonment of 10 years, a maximum term of imprisonment of life and a fine of up to $10 million. Wallin faces additional charges that could see him face a maximum term of imprisonment of 20 years and a fine of up to $1 million for each count, according to Fein.

LeftyF January 17, 2013 at 03:45 AM
Interesting. No mention that Kevin Wallin is a Monsignor in the Catholic Church? Need to do some reporting here.....
David Moran (Editor) January 17, 2013 at 09:32 AM
LeftyF, the story's been updated with that information.
David Moran (Editor) January 18, 2013 at 05:40 AM
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