Arizona Man Sentenced to 16 Years for Methamphetamine Trafficking & Money Laundering
MADISON, WIS. – Timothy M. O’Shea, United States Attorney for the Western District of Wisconsin, announced that Levi Bagne, 31, Buckeye, Arizona, was sentenced today by Chief U.S. District Judge James D. Peterson to 16 years in federal prison for conspiracy to distribute 50 grams or more of methamphetamine and money laundering. Bagne pleaded guilty to these charges on May 24, 2022.
The government’s investigation revealed that Bagne was the undisputed leader of a large-scale drug trafficking organization that was responsible for bringing over 20 pounds of methamphetamine into central Wisconsin from Arizona. As a result of his lucrative operation, Bagne used drug funds to make mortgage payments on his house, buy a trailer, ATVs, and a motorcycle, as well as build a swimming pool.
On November 12, 2019, and again on February 15, 2020, Bagne and co-defendant Krista Sparks mailed packages containing methamphetamine from Arizona to co-defendant Cory Freyermuth’s residence in Oshkosh, Wisconsin. The packages were seized by law enforcement and subsequent searches of the packages revealed a total of six pounds of methamphetamine.
On September 2, 2020, agents executed a search warrant on a storage unit belonging to Bagne and Freyermuth in Stevens Point, Wisconsin. During the search, agents recovered 10 pounds of methamphetamine.
The investigation also revealed that Bagne and Sparks used multiple bank accounts to launder drug proceeds. After selling methamphetamine in Wisconsin, Freyermuth returned the drug proceeds to Bagne in Arizona. Bagne devised a plan that allowed Freyermuth to deposit cashier’s checks into Sparks’ bank accounts. The investigation revealed that Bagne and Sparks played an active role in setting up the bank accounts and withdrawing the proceeds.
On May 26, 2021, agents arrested Bagne and executed a search warrant at his house in Buckeye, Arizona. During the search, agents found a safe containing $40,050 in cash, nine firearms, and hundreds of rounds of ammunition. As part of his plea agreement, Bagne agreed to forfeit his residence in Buckeye, $40,050 in cash, a 2021 PJ 22-foot trailer, and a 2019 Honda CBR1000RR motorcycle.
At the sentencing hearing, Judge Peterson concluded that a significant sentence was warranted because Bagne’s organization was responsible for bringing a tremendous amount of methamphetamine into Wisconsin for a significant period of time. Judge Peterson stated that Bagne exercised tight control over members of the organization and helped finance local dealers by fronting them large amounts of methamphetamine. Judge Peterson noted that Bagne had multiple prior drug trafficking felony convictions and prior prison sentences had not deterred him from dealing drugs. Judge Peterson also found that Bagne’s history demonstrated a “lack of self-control” and a “propensity for violence.” Judge Peterson also expressed concern regarding the “arsenal” of weapons found at Bagne’s home in close proximity to a large amount of cash.
A total of six individuals have been charged for participating in this methamphetamine distribution scheme. All six individuals have pleaded guilty.
The charges against Bagne are the result of an investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Central Wisconsin Narcotics Task Force comprised of investigators from the FBI, Marathon County Sheriff's Office, Wausau Police Department, Wisconsin Department of Justice Division of Criminal Investigation, Lincoln County Sheriff's Office, Wisconsin State Patrol, Everest Metro Police Department, and Wisconsin's National Guard Counterdrug program; and the Drug Enforcement Administration, Lake Winnebago Area Metropolitan Unit, and Merrill Police Department. The investigation was conducted and funded by the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF), a multi-agency task force that coordinates long-term narcotics trafficking investigations. The prosecution of the case is being handled by Assistant U.S. Attorney Aaron Wegner.