Comments Off on Man sentenced to 9 years for part in methamphetamine manufacturing network

MADISON — A Schofield man accused of being part of a methamphetamine manufacturing network was sentenced Tuesday to nine years in a federal prison.

Charles Bear, 39, was convicted April 1 after pleading guilty to a charge of conspiring to possess pseudoephedrine with the intent to manufacture methamphetamine in the Western Wisconsin District of U.S. Court in Madison. He will serve three years of extended supervision after his release from prison.

Local, state and federal authorities investigated more than a dozen methamphetamine cooking operations between 2008 and 2010 in Lincoln County that resulted in criminal charges for 16 people, U.S. Department of Justice attorney Bob Anderson said Wednesday. So far, 11 of the 16 people have been sentenced to prison and five others await sentencing.

Merrill Police Lt. Mike Hamann, who is one of the lead investigators into meth-making in Lincoln County, said police have not heard reports in the past year of anyone making methamphetamine. The methamphetamine police have seen in the county is a different form of the drug and likely was made elsewhere, he said.

Lincoln County saw a spike in methamphetamine manufacturing in 2003-04 and again in 2008-09.

“We’re hoping to make enough impact and remove the right people to remove that cycle,” Hamann said.

Anderson described the 16 people as being part of an informal network instead of a formal drug ring. Some of the network members, including Bear, manufactured or “cooked” the methamphetamine and had other people buy pseudoephedrine-based medications, such as Sudafed, a key ingredient in making methamphetamine, Anderson said. A person must sign a log that tracks sales of pseudoephedrine products at pharmacies. State law allows a person to buy up to 7.5 grams of the drug within a 30-day period.

Anderson and Hamann said they are continuing to investigate the case and other people could be indicted in the future.

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