Suspects in McDonald's drug trafficking case appear in federal court
WHITEFISH BAY -- The Whitefish Bay man accused of using his McDonald's restaurants as a front for a large scale drug operation made his first appearance in federal court along with two other men. Only one of those three men, 27-year-old Paul Markiewicz, was released at the federal courthouse.
Markiewicz is part of a drug ring run through at least three McDonald's restaurants spread across north shore suburbs. Federal prosecutors say Markiewicz's role included running errands for Patterson, the man who owned all three McDonald's restaurants.
A federal judge released Markiewicz with the expectation that he does not contact any of his co-defendants. He'll also have to take part in random drug testing.
Federal agents believe Patterson led a drug trafficking operation out of his McDonald's franchises. They received marijuana from Northern California then shipped the drugs throughout the Milwaukee area.
Patterson appeared briefly in court, and won't have a chance to be released until his attorney reviews the case.
The third man who appeared in court is Kevin Breitzman. His attorney said he's being held in federal custody, because of a similar charge in California.
If convicted of charge related to this drug trafficking case, Markiewicz faces more than 20 years in prison. Breitzman could serve up to 40 years in prison, and Patterson is facing life in prison.