News and Press Releases

News and Press Releases

Four women indicted for conspiring to distribute controlled substances in the Twin Ports

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 20, 2012


MINNEAPOLIS—A federal indictment unsealed late yesterday charges four women with conspiring to distribute controlled substances, including oxycodone, oxymorphone, and heroin, in the in the Twin Ports’ area of Duluth, Minnesota, and Superior, Wisconsin. The indictment charges Taylor Kay Hanson, age 21; Talia Jackie Jaros, age 20; Danielle Ann Lamberton, age 24; and Elizabeth Rose Schlais, age 20, no known addresses, with one count of conspiracy to distribute controlled substances and one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering. The indictment, which was filed on July 16, 2012, was unsealed following the defendants’ initial court appearances.

Allegedly, from 2010 through September of 2011, the defendants conspired with each other and others to distribute the controlled substances. They also purportedly conspired to conduct financial transactions involving their drug trafficking proceeds. Specifically, the indictment alleges they wire transferred money to other co-conspirators.

Twenty-five co-conspirators have already pleaded guilty to roles in the operation, and seven of them have been sentenced. A jury trial is scheduled for one co-conspirator next month.

Authorities began investigating this group in 2010, after law enforcement noted an increase in Opana trafficking in Minnesota and Wisconsin. Opana contains the controlled substance oxymorphone. Investigators conducted surveillance and dozens of controlled purchases before making any arrests. On September 27, 2011, law enforcement also executed search warrants at nine properties in Minnesota and Wisconsin, where authorities seized firearms, ammunition, approximately $30,000, as well as narcotics.

If convicted, the defendants face a potential maximum penalty of 20 years in prison on each charge. All sentences will be determined by a federal district court judge.

This case is the result of an investigation by the Lake Superior Drug and Gang Task Force, the Duluth Police Department, the Hermantown Police Department, the Superior, Wisconsin, Police Department, the Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigation Division, and the United States Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. It is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Allen A. Slaughter.

An indictment is a determination by a grand jury that there is probable cause to believe that offenses have been committed by a defendant. A defendant, of course, is presumed innocent until he or she pleads guilty or is proven guilty at trial.

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