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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Western District of Wisconsin

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Two Merrill Men Charged in Methamphetamine Conspiracy

MADISON, WIS. -- John W. Vaudreuil, United States Attorney for the Western District of Wisconsin, announced today the unsealing of an indictment returned yesterday by a grand jury sitting in Madison, which charges David Brandenburg, 26, and Matthew Drake, 26, both of Merrill, Wis., with conspiring to distribute methamphetamine and to possess methamphetamine with intent to distribute.  The indictment alleges that this conspiracy involved more than 500 grams of methamphetamine.

With this indictment, 12 people have now been indicted on related federal charges of distributing methamphetamine in the central Wisconsin area from June 2013 to May 2016.  The individuals previously indicted are:

  1. Joseph Kujawa, 37, Oakdale, Minn.;
  2. Kyle Quintana, 23, St. Paul, Minn.;
  3. Jacob Loose, 24, Wausau, Wis.;
  4. Patrick Keenan, 29, Wausau;
  5. Jaimie Pankow, 32, Wausau;
  6. Anthony Rogers, 24, Wausau;
  7. Andrew Nelson, 31, Merrill;
  8. Karen Zais, 48, Merrill;
  9. Paul Rasmussen, 34, Osseo, Wis.; and
  10. Christopher Schmeltzer, 45, Merrill.

Brandenburg was arrested early this morning in Merrill, and transported to Madison for his initial appearance before U.S. Magistrate Judge Stephen L. Crocker.  Brandenburg was detained in federal custody.  Drake will make his initial appearance in U.S. District Court in Madison in early August. 

Because of the amounts charged in the indictments returned against the above-listed defendants, most of them are facing 10-year mandatory prison terms if convicted.  Both Brandenburg and Drake, if convicted, are facing a mandatory minimum of 10 years, and a maximum of life in federal prison.

The charges against these defendants are the result of an investigation by the Wisconsin Department of Justice, Division of Criminal Investigation; Lincoln County Sheriff’s Department; Federal Bureau of Investigation; Drug Enforcement Administration; Marathon County Sheriff’s Department, Special Investigations Unit; Wausau Police Department; Merrill Police Department; and IRS Criminal Investigation. The prosecution of this case will be handled by Assistant U.S. Attorney Daniel Graber. 

You are advised that a charge is merely an accusation and that a defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty.

Drug Trafficking
Updated July 14, 2016