UPDATE: A suspect in a major marijuana bust in Eau Claire reached a plea deal.
Blake Handrick pleaded not guilty to a federal charge of possessing marijuana with intent to deliver.
Handrick and several others were accused of selling large quantities of pot and making a profit of $650,000.
He will be sentenced in May.
Posted December 2016
Eau Claire (WQOW) - Eau Claire police expect to charge more people as a result of a drug investigation in Eau Claire.
News 18 reported Wednesday Blake Handrick, Jason Weller, Steven Falstad and Chad Peterson of Eau Claire and Joseph Cicione, formerly of Eau Claire. were charged in federal court for their alleged part in operating a drug ring from 2013 to December 2015. Authorities said Handrick and Cicione worked together to start and operate a legal marijuana growing facility in the State of Washington and illegally transported the drug to the Chippewa Valley. Falstad, Weller and Peterson were involved in distributing it.
Friday, Eau Claire police said those five people represent a small number of people involved in the drug network and expect several more individuals will be also be charged.
Eau Claire police said besides the marijuana distribution, those involved in the case had also been distributing cocaine and methamphetamine. Authorities have opened up several other investigations into those activities.
Eau Claire (WQOW) - According to the Office of U.S. District Attorney John Vaudreuil, five people, all from Eau Claire, are charged in federal court with conspiracy to distribute marijuana and possessing marijuana with the intent to distribute it.
According to the indictment, Blake Handrick, Joseph Cicione, Jason Weller, Steven Falstad and Chad Peterson operated a drug ring from 2013 to December 2015. The indictment seeks a forfeiture of $658,900, which is alleged to be the amount the suspects received from the drug ring. Court records allege Handrick and Cicione had 100 kilograms or more of marijuana attributed to them, while Weller, Falstad and Peterson each had 50 kilograms attributed to them.
In addition to the conspiracy charge, the indictment includes the following charges:
- Handrick and Cicione are charged with four counts of possessing marijuana with intent to distribute, and with three counts of distributing marijuana;
- Weller is charged with one count of possessing marijuana with intent to distribute;
- Falstad is charged with one count of possessing marijuana with intent to distribute; and
- Peterson is charged with one count of distributing marijuana and one count of possessing marijuana with intent to distribute.
If convicted of the conspiracy charge, Handrick and Cicione face a mandatory minimum penalty of five years to a maximum of life in federal prison. Weller, Falstad and Peterson face a maximum penalty of 20 years. Each charge of possession with the intent to distribute and distribution of marijuana has a maximum penalty of five years in federal prison.
Handrick, Falstad and Peterson were charged in Eau Claire County Circuit Court last January for drug-related charges.