News and Press Releases

Merrill Man Sentenced on Meth Charge

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 1, 2011

Madison, Wis. - John W. Vaudreuil, United States Attorney for the Western District of Wisconsin, announced that Michael B. Ritchie, 41, of Merrill, Wis., was sentenced today by U.S. District Judge Barbara B. Crabb to 70 months in federal prison, to be followed by a three-year period of supervised release, for conspiring with others to possess pseudoephedrine with the intent to manufacture methamphetamine in the Lincoln county area during 2008 and 2009. Federal prison sentences are served without the possibility of parole.

The prosecution of Ritchie was the result of an extensive and ongoing investigation of methamphetamine manufacture conducted by the Merrill Police Department, Lincoln County Sheriff’s Department, and Wisconsin Department of Justice, Division of Criminal Investigation. To date, the cooperative state, local and federal investigation has resulted in the conviction of sixteen people involved in over a dozen separate methamphetamine cooking operations during 2008 through 2010.

Bernard W. Robertson, 41, Tomahawk, pleaded guilty on May 3 to similar charges of conspiring with Ritchie and others to possess pseudoephedrine with intent to manufacture methamphetamine in the Lincoln County area and is scheduled to be sentenced on September 6.

The following defendants were previously convicted and sentenced in federal court in connection with this investigation:

  1. Larry Dole, conspiracy to possess pseudoephedrine with intent to manufacture methamphetamine, 10 years, 10 months;
  2. Antonio Lance, conspiracy to possess pseudoephedrine with intent to manufacture methamphetamine, 12 years, 5 months;
  3. Jody Simon; conspiracy to possess pseudoephedrine with intent to manufacture methamphetamine, 10 years;
  4. Shawn Ably,conspiracy to possess pseudoephedrine with intent to manufacture methamphetamine, 6 years;
  5. Jake Barttelt, manufacture of methamphetamine, 5 ½ years;
  6. Daniel Bohman, manufacture of methamphetamine, 4 years;
  7. Joshua Graham, conspiracy to possess pseudoephedrine with intent to manufacture methamphetamine, 10 years;
  8. Chuck Groff, conspiracy to manufacture methamphetamine, 12 years;
  9. Paul Rasmussen, attempted manufacture of methamphetamine, 5 years;
  10. David Bienfang, conspiracy to possess pseudoephedrine with intent to manufacture methamphetamine, 4 ½ years;
  11. Hal “Casey” Mulford, conspiracy to possess pseudoephedrine with intent to manufacture methamphetamine, 3 ½ years;
  12. Richard Koput, conspiracy to possess pseudoephedrine with intent to manufacture methamphetamine, 11 years;
  13. Christopher Schmeltzer, conspiracy to possess pseudoephedrine with intent to manufacture methamphetamine, 27 months; and
  14. Charles “Mike” Bear, conspiracy to possess pseudoephedrine with intent to manufacture methamphetamine, 9 years.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Robert A. Anderson is handling the prosecution of these cases.

 

 

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