NEW: Two more suspects in meth case in custody - WXOW News 19 La Crosse, WI – News, Weather and Sports |

NEW: Two more suspects in meth case in custody

Posted: Updated:
Guns seized by authorities during the arrest of John P. Vang Guns seized by authorities during the arrest of John P. Vang
A handgun seized during the arrest of John P. Vang in the Town of Holland on October 20 A handgun seized during the arrest of John P. Vang in the Town of Holland on October 20
Sam Lestina-in custody on October 26. Sam Lestina-in custody on October 26.
A tactical style rifle, four handguns, and one auto pistol style firearm were seized following the arrest of John P. Vang in the Town of Holland Tuesday October 20 A tactical style rifle, four handguns, and one auto pistol style firearm were seized following the arrest of John P. Vang in the Town of Holland Tuesday October 20
Jacob Porath Jacob Porath
La Crosse, WI (WXOW) -

The criminal complaint against one of the people involved in a large methamphetamine trafficking operation gives details on the amount of drugs coming into the La Crosse area.

WXOW obtained a copy of the criminal complaint against John Vang Tuesday.

READ MORE: Criminal Complaint for John Vang

The complaint goes into detail into the activities Vang, his family members, and others in bringing multiple pounds of methamphetamine to the La Crosse area and how it was distributed throughout the community.

In one part of the complaint, one of Vang's brothers, Yia Vang, said to investigators about each pound of meth brought here:

"Adam Vang would bring the methamphetamine from the cities to Yia Vang and John Vang where Yia Vang and John Vang would break up the methamphetamine and distribute to their people for delivery. Yia Vang stated that the source in the cities is expecting $10,000."

Yia Vang told investigators after his arrest that they would make over $18,000 for each pound of meth.

He also stated that members of the group would get 2-3 pounds of meth per week from the cartel and bring it to La Crosse for distribution. Vang also said that this had been going on since the middle of 2014.

Both Yia Vang and John Vang are in the La Crosse County Jail on $100,000 cash bonds.


NEW: Two suspects wanted by authorities for their roles in a meth trafficking operation are now in custody.

Jail records show that Sam Lestina is currently in the La Crosse County Jail where's he's being held on a $20,000 cash bond on a charge of Manufacturing and Delivery of Methamphetamine.

Those records state that Jacob Porath is jailed Tuesday morning without bond pending a court appearance on similar drug charges.

Arrest warrants were issued for both men on October 19.

The 40-year-old Lestina and 34-year-old Porath were two of 17 people named last week as part of a meth trafficking group that brought large quantities of the drug from the Twin Cities to get distributed to a five county area surrounding La Crosse.  

Of the 17 mentioned by authorities, three are still have not been apprehended. They include Adam Vang, Ia Vang, and Kojoua Vu.

During the course of the investigation, large amounts of methamphetamine, guns, and money were seized by authorities.


UPDATE: A $20,000 cash bond was set Thursday for one of the people involved in the large methamphetamine trafficking operation announced earlier this week.

Jennifer Rondeau-Wilbur appeared in La Crosse County Circuit Court for a bond hearing Thursday afternoon.

She was one of 17 people named as part of an investigation announced on Tuesday into distributing meth in a five county area surrounding La Crosse. 

Rondeau-Wilbur was one of several people who weren't in custody when the investigation was announced.

Based on a tip, authorities were able to arrest Rondeau-Wilbur during a traffic stop Wednesday.


UPDATE: Authorities tell WXOW that another of the people charged as part of a large scale methamphetamine trafficking operation in the area is now in custody.

Acting on a tip, Jennifer Rondeau-Wilbur was arrested during a traffic stop early Wednesday afternoon. 

She is among a group of 17 people who authorities on Tuesday said were involved in the distribution of methamphetamine in a five county area around La Crosse. 

Authorities are still looking for Adam Vang, Sam Lestina, Jacob Porath, Ia Vang, and Kojoua Vu.


UPDATE: Police have taken John Vang into custody as a suspect in a major meth trafficking operation in the La Crosse area.

That makes the 10th arrest of a group of 17 people named Tuesday as being part of the trafficking group.

Tom Johnson, an investigator with the West Central Metropolitan Enforcement Group said Tuesday evening intelligence gathered by the West Central Metropolitan Enforcement Group (MEG) led investigators to a home in Holmen. At around 6 p.m., the La Crosse County Sheriff's Department Emergency Response Team, along with members of the La Crosse and Holmen Police Departments, went into the home and arrested Vang. 

During a search of the home, investigators found a small amount of methamphetamine. Johnson said it has been sent the lab for testing.

They also found what is described as a tactical style rifle, four semi-auto handguns, and one auto pistol style firearm. 

"I think the tie between the guns and the drugs tells you a story," Johnson said. "Number one, we're dealing with something that's highly intense in terms of safety for them, their own protection, for an intimidation factor for other people and for robbery obviously."

The six guns recovered also worry Johnson, posing a potential threat to neighborhoods and communities.

"This is very scary," he said. "This is scary for the children and people that are in these houses where these arrests have been made, some of these weapons are stolen, it just breeds more and more crime."

Vang made his first appearance in La Crosse County Circuit Court on Wednesday. Judge Todd Bjerke set bond at $100,000.


A year long investigation by multiple law enforcement agencies leads to felony drug conspiracy charges against 17 people in La Crosse County.

Nine of those charged are currently in custody. 

Authorities, working through the West Central Metropolitan Enforcement Group (MEG) said Tuesday morning that the investigation involves a large methamphetamine operation operating in several counties surrounding La Crosse.

Members of the group held a news conference Tuesday morning in La Crosse to give details on the investigation and arrests.

The investigation began in 2014 when authorities saw a more than 300 percent increase in jailings for meth related cases. 

Law enforcement officials said that the drugs weren't the normal "shake and bake" meth they had usually seen. What they were finding was a high-grade form of the drug. This form of meth was much more dangerous because of its potency and highly addictive capabilities.

Their investigation revealed that the drugs were likely made in "superlabs" belonging to Mexican drug cartels. The drugs would get smuggled across the border and end up in the Twin Cities. From there, authorities said that 4-5 people from the area would routinely travel to the Twin Cities and get the drug and return to distribute the drug throughout the Coulee Region. In addition to La Crosse County, Jackson, Monroe, Vernon, and Trempealeau counties were involved in the investigation. 

Authorities said that the quality of the drug allowed it to be sold for anywhere from $1,000 to $1,200 per ounce.

The investigation, according to authorities, included making controlled buys and other intelligence gathering before making the arrests and bringing charges. They said Tuesday that the La Crosse area is a focal point for drug trafficking due to its proximity to the Twin Cities and Chicago areas.

Based on the arrests made, authorities said that they believe they've made a dent in the trafficking of meth. They did concede that the people arrested, while significant, were "disposable", and will likely get replaced in the drug supply chain.

Additional arrests are likely according to those at Tuesday's news conference. The investigation has broadened to include working with the DEA and other drug task forces in Wisconsin and Minnesota.

Follow WXOW on Twitter @WXOW or with the hashtag #WXOW
 

Powered by Frankly