Police: Community key in recent string of drug busts - WXOW News 19 La Crosse, WI – News, Weather and Sports |

Police: Community key in recent string of drug busts


LA CROSSE, Wisconsin (WXOW) -- La Crosse Police have reported four different drug busts within the city in April alone.

The most recent occurred at 615 Jackson St. Friday. Jonathan Banaszkiewicz, 30, is accused of selling meth to an informant. His roommate, 49-year-old John Irvin, was also arrested Friday for possessing marijuana. 

Those arrests came on the heels of La Crosse police arresting Faron March, of Illinois, who they alleged at the time of arrest possessed about $3,600 worth of cocaine. 

Also arrested on drug-related charges in La Crosse this month was 32-year old Eugene Shields, after police said reported recovering copious amounts of both heroin and cocaine from his business on State Road April 8. 

Walter Blackman, of Gary, Indiana, was arrested April 5 in a joint drug bust by local police and the FBI. Blackman has been transported back to Chicago, where he's facing federal drug and firearms charges. 

According to criminal complaints, none of Blackman's alleged drug activity is said to have occurred in La Crosse. But federal authorities said he had been spending a sizeable chunk of time at a home on the city's south side. 

Lieutenant Pat Hogan, of the La Crosse Police Department, said there are numerous reasons for the recent boost in drug busts. 

"A lot just depends on the information we're getting from the public," Hogan said. "The community is our eyes and ears. The information they can give us regarding the possible drug activity that might be going on... we can take that information and run with it and build a case with it." 

"Also lately, we've been able to focus a lot more on the drug enforcement," he said. "Last year we had four major (homicides) that happened that took a lot of time and resources away from us." 

"But the last several months we've been able to focus more on the drug enforcement," Hogan said. 


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