New assistant attorney general appointed in Wisconsin to assist methamphetamine-related cases
Monday, Attorney General Brad Schimel announced he will be appointing an assistant attorney general to assist local district attorneys and law enforcement in the prosecution of methamphetamine-related cases. In February 2017, Attorney General Schimel briefed the Wisconsin State Legislature on the growing threat of methamphetamine and included findings from a January 2017 joint Wisconsin Department of Justice and Federal Bureau of Investigation study. The report details methamphetamine use increased 250 to 300 percent from 2011 to 2015.
“I have hosted listening sessions over the last 12 months with local law enforcement and community leaders in many of Wisconsin’s 72 counties, and there is no doubt meth use is one of the counties’ biggest threats, particularly in the northwestern part of the state,” said Attorney General Schimel. “The vast majority of methamphetamine is not being produced in “one pot” labs in people’s homes, garages, and sheds, but in Mexico, which makes our efforts to put drug traffickers behind bars more important. I’m confident the methamphetamine prosecutor, working alongside our DCI agents and local law enforcement, will have an immediate, positive impact on meth trafficking prosecutions and help reduce some of the burden our resource-strapped counties have been experiencing.”
Recently, the Wisconsin State Crime Laboratory Bureau (WSCLB) has experienced a 13.5% increase in methamphetamine submissions, from 1,012 in 2015 to 1,149 in 2016. There is also anecdotal evidence that some opiate addicts are switching from the use of prescription drugs and heroin, to methamphetamine.
“Northwestern Wisconsin is ‘ground zero’ for methamphetamine use,” said Eau Claire County Sheriff Ron Cramer. “I appreciate Attorney General Schimel’s leadership and willingness to assist local law enforcement with this urgent and dangerous threat that is ruining countless lives in our communities.”
Attorney General Schimel announced that the new assistant attorney general will be located in Eau Claire and work in the Division of Criminal Investigation (DCI)’s Eau Claire field office. Basing them out of this office will allow them to respond quickly and effectively to cases throughout the northwest part of the state involving methamphetamine trafficking and to work proactively with both DCI criminal agents and outside law enforcement agencies. The new methamphetamine assistant attorney general will represent the state in criminal cases; advise local prosecutors on matters relating to methamphetamine trafficking; and assist in the development of legislation concerning the growing threat that methamphetamine poses to local communities.