Tomah Man Sentenced to 12 Years for Distributing Methamphetamine
MADISON, WIS. – Timothy M. O’Shea, United States Attorney for the Western District of Wisconsin, announced that Victor Pennington, 27, Tomah, Wisconsin was sentenced today by U.S. District Judge William M. Conley to 12 years in federal prison for distributing 500 grams or more of methamphetamine as part of a conspiracy. This prison term will be followed by 5 years of supervised release.
Law enforcement began their investigation of Pennington in January 2021. Through the course of their investigation, officers utilized confidential informants to purchase over 100 grams of methamphetamine from him or his co-defendant Lucas Ellwart on three occasions. Officers also determined Pennington utilized another individual, Kyle Ritchie, to purchase guns on his behalf.
Pennington is prohibited from legally possessing or purchasing firearms as a result of several felony convictions, including two Wisconsin convictions related to methamphetamine from 2019. Judge Conley sentenced Ellwart in October 2022 to 72 months imprisonment for distribution of methamphetamine, and Ritchie in September 2022 to 24 months imprisonment for making false statements during the purchase of a firearm, which he provided to Pennington.
Pennington was arrested following a 33-mile high-speed car pursuit in September 2021. Officers attempted to pull him over on his return from Minnesota—purportedly where he had purchased a large quantity of methamphetamine—but the defendant fled. During the pursuit, he instructed Ellwart, who was also in the car, to throw methamphetamine out of the car window. Officers later recovered over 700 grams of methamphetamine along the route of the chase.
In sentencing Pennington, Judge Conley noted that the defendant was under Wisconsin supervision at the time of these offenses. Judge Conley reasoned that a significant sentence was warranted due to the sheer volume of methamphetamine the defendant distributed, including to lower-level dealers in central Wisconsin, and his decision to illegally obtain guns and flee from police.
The charge against Pennington was a result of an investigation conducted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation's Central Wisconsin Narcotics Task Force comprised of investigators from FBI, Marathon County Sheriff's Office, Wausau Police Department, Wisconsin Department of Justice Division of Criminal Investigation, the Lincoln County Sheriff's Office, Wisconsin State Patrol, Everest Metro Police Department, Wisconsin's National Guard Counterdrug Program, and the Marathon County District Attorney’s Office. Assistant U.S. Attorney Taylor L. Kraus handled the prosecution.