Trafficking Synthetic Cannabinoids on Menominee Indian Reservation Leads to Prison Sentences for Three Men
Gregory J. Haanstad, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Wisconsin, announced recent sentences after convictions for a group of men who were part of a drug trafficking organization operating on the Menominee Indian Reservation. The three codefendants entered guilty pleas in June 2017. The sentences were imposed by Chief United States District Judge William C. Griesbach.
On August 15, 2017, Austin A. Kaquatosh (age: 24) received a sentence of 24 months’ imprisonment to be followed by 60 months on supervised release.
On August 30, 2017, Mitchell E. Oshkosh (age: 31) received a sentence of 24 months’ imprisonment to be followed by 48 months on supervised release.
On September 8, 2017, Woody Nahquaddy (age: 31) received a sentence of 42 months’ imprisonment to be followed by 60 months on supervised release.
The investigation revealed that the three defendants conspired amongst themselves and with others, and distributed a large quantity of synthetic cannabinoids referred to locally as “Ish” in and around the Menominee Indian Reservation. The group obtained synthetic drugs from Milwaukee several times a week, purchasing as much as two pounds per trip over nearly a year. Each trip involved spending approximately $2,000 - $2,500, after which the synthetic drugs were repackaged for distribution from designated residences in Keshena and Neopit on the Menominee Indian Reservation.
Abuse of synthetic cannabinoids on the Menominee Indian Reservation became a public health crisis in the same period of time, with numerous calls for medical service to assist users who had adverse reactions to synthetic drugs like those distributed by the defendants. Examples of symptoms suffered from those who abused the substances included seizures, extremely high blood pressure, high body temperature, catatonia, and disorientation.
In sentencing the three defendants, Chief Judge Griesbach noted the serious nature of the offense, which involved the sale of a substance that caused great harm to the Menominee Indian community. Chief Judge Griesbach indicated his intent to deter the defendants and anyone else from preying on the weaknesses of others in the community. At Nahquaddy’s sentencing hearing, Chief Judge Griesbach noted the roles each man played among a larger group, observing that Nahquaddy was “the major player” in the case.
The case was investigated by the Menominee Tribal Police Department, the Wisconsin Department of Justice - Division of Criminal Investigation (Native American Drug and Gang Initiative), the Wisconsin State Crime Laboratory, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Andrew J. Maier.
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