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24th Member of Cocaine Distribution Conspiracy Sentenced

JUNE 03 (MADISON, Wis.) – Jack Riley, Special Agent in Charge of the Chicago Field Division and John W. Vaudreuil, United States Attorney for the Western District of Wisconsin announced that Mark Balcerowski, 54, Mayville, Wis., was sentenced today for his role in a long-term investigation into cocaine trafficking in Jefferson County.

Balcerowski was sentenced to three years of probation by U.S. District Judge Barbara B. Crabb, who noted that Balcerowski avoided a prison term because his conduct was driven by his own addiction and because he did not financially profit from his involvement in the case.

Twenty-three individuals were previously sentenced to prison as a result of this long-term drug investigation that began in November 2007 in Jefferson County. In addition to the individuals sentenced above, two individuals who have been indicted for their role in the conspiracy remain fugitives: Celestino Velazquez-Rodriguez and Emmanuel Pineda-Gonzalez.

Beginning in February 2008, the United States received authority from Judge Crabb to conduct wiretaps on several of the telephones being used by Maximo and Efrain Pineda-Buenaventura to conduct a drug operation run out of multiple dwellings in Watertown and a residence in Janesville. Approximately 8,000 calls were monitored by law enforcement officers between February and June 2008 in which members of the conspiracy were overheard conducting drug transactions and making arrangements to facilitate the sale of large amounts of cocaine in the Western District of Wisconsin. 

On June 19, 2008, law enforcement officers executed 11 search warrants in the Western and Eastern Districts of Wisconsin, resulting in the arrest of several defendants in Watertown, the seizure of over $100,000 in United States currency, several automobiles, and multiple kilograms of cocaine.

Previously sentenced were:

Name                          Crime of Conviction                         Sentence Imposed

Maximo Pineda-Buenaventura, Conspiracy to Distribute Cocaine, 17 years, 6 months

Servando Herrera-Vazquez, Conspiracy to Distribute Cocaine, 11 years, 8 months

Efrain Pineda-Buenaventura, Conspiracy to Distribute Cocaine, 10 years

Teodulo Pineda-Buenaventura, Conspiracy to Distribute Cocaine, 5 years

Otoniel Mendoza, Conspiracy to Distribute Cocaine, 5 years

James Hrobsky, Conspiracy to Distribute Cocaine, 2 years, 6 months

Will Bryant, Conspiracy to Distribute Cocaine, 4 years, 4 months

Jesus Duque-Pineda, Distribution of Cocaine, 6 months

Arturo Pineda-Lopez, Conspiracy to Distribute Cocaine, 3 years, 1 month

Perfecto Pineda-Duque, Conspiracy to Distribute Cocaine, 3 years, 10 months

Juan C. Pineda-Pineda, Conspiracy to Distribute Cocaine, 1 year

Harold Hausz, Conspiracy to Distribute Cocaine, 5 years

Eli Torres-Banos, Conspiracy to Distribute Cocaine, 1 year

Gerado Pineda-Soria, Conspiracy to Distribute Cocaine, 2 years, 6 months

Arnold Wood, Conspiracy to Distribute Cocaine, 5 years

Scott Thorsen, Conspiracy to Distribute Cocaine, 4 years, 6 months

Martin Pineda-Pineda a/k/a Magin Avellaneda-Avila, Conspiracy to Distribute Cocaine, 4 years, 3 months

Angel Ayala-Pineda, Distribution of Cocaine, 15 months

Joshua Cira, Using a Telephone to Commit a Felony Drug Offense, 1 year and one day in prison

Anthony Jameson, Using a Telephone to Commit a Felony Drug Offense, 1 year of probation

Jon Bertel, Using a Telephone to Commit a Felony Drug Offense, 1 day in prison and 1 year of supervised release

Rachel Kopp, Possession of Cocaine with Intent to Distribute, 30 months in prison

Kevin Sobrolske, Possession of Cocaine, 1 year of probation

The investigation was conducted by the Drug Enforcement Administration; Wisconsin Department of Justice, Division of Criminal Investigation; Dodge County Sheriff's Department; Jefferson County Drug Task Force; Fort Atkinson Police Department; Watertown Police Department; and Janesville Police Department. The prosecution of this case has been handled by Assistant United States Attorney Paul W. Connell.

Parents and children are encouraged to educate themselves about the dangers of drugs by visiting DEA’s interactive websites at www.JustThinkTwice.com,  www.GetSmartAboutDrugs.com and www.dea.gov.   ###


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