By Cory Gunderson —
The University of Wisconsin-Stout Police Department, with support of Menomonie Police Department and members of West Central Drug Task Force executed a search warrant at 2421 Fourth Ave. NE, 18B, on the morning of Nov. 12 resulting in the seizure of more than six pounds of marijuana, marijuana-laced candy, various controlled substances and $5,200 in cash.
Preliminary tests and inspections have indicated a strong possibility these suspected drugs are methamphetamine, LSD and Adderall. This is pending official lab results to determine the exact chemical composition of the suspected drugs. Michael Auckland and Joshua Schuster were arrested and charged with Maintaining a Drug Trafficking House. Schuster was also charged with Possession with Intent to Deliver based on the evidence collected during the controlled buy. Both charges are Class I felonies. Schuster and Auckland were both released on $2,000 signature bonds. Their initial court appearance is scheduled for Dec. 9 at 10:45 a.m. at Branch Two of the Dunn County Government Center.
The investigation opened in the fall of 2013 when officers began to receive various tips that Schuster may be in possession of a large amount of marijuana. In the beginning of October 2014, the main portion of the case was established through a single controlled buy. The controlled buy provided officers with the evidence they needed to obtain a search warrant on Schuster’s home.
Patrol Sergeant Spetz led the investigation and prepared the affidavit for the search warrant presented to a judge in Dunn County on Nov. 10. The WCDTF is comprised of investigators from Buffalo, Chippewa, Clark, Dunn and Eau Claire Counties’ law enforcement agencies who collaboratively work to reduce drug abuse and drug-related crime in West Central Wisconsin by sharing intelligence, equipment and investigative resources. For small departments like Stout, this reduces the burden of trying to fund expensive surveillance equipment and vehicles.
The task force allows officers from other agencies to provide investigative manpower and share tips through an online database. The tips received on Shuster were directly used in establishing the controlled buy and subsequent arrest. The money collected during the seizure will eventually be allocated to the task force and be used in future investigations.
“The case itself, when you take a look from the outside, it’s a drug case. I tell people it is no different than any other drug case on this campus, or this city. From the way it was investigated, the way it was put together and the way the search warrant was executed, was no different than the stuff we do weekly, monthly or yearly. The fact that we happen to just go from the little guy all the way to someone this big, that’s not common. That just doesn’t happen every day. That’s what makes this such a special case for us. The fact that we got in there and there was that much stuff. We got the big guy right away,” Officer Spetz said. “We give everyone the same opportunity to cooperate and to make their own lives better in the situation they happen to be in at the time. That’s how it happened, it’s a basic run of the mill case but we just happened to stumble on the big one,” Officer Spetz said.
And, it definitely was a big one; the search yielded the largest quantity of marijuana in the department’s history. The case raises a significant question. Are drugs a serious problem at Stout?
Statistics show that drug arrests have declined in recent years. The Chancellor’s Coalition on Alcohol and Drugs–aiming to decrease high-risk drinking and drug abuse behaviors on campus–has been linked to this decrease.
According to the 2013 University of Wisconsin-Stout Security/Public Safety Report (also known as Cleary Report), drug arrests at UW-Stout in 2013 were 29% lower (46) than in 2010 (65). This case certainly caught the public’s attention because of its scale but we shouldn’t presume drugs are only a problem here at Stout.
“We don’t have any more of a drug problem on this campus than anywhere in the world, but we do take a pretty active law enforcement approach to it,” Officer Spetz said. “Our affiliation with the West Central Drug Task Force and the Chancellor’s Coalition on Alcohol and Drugs are certainly supportive of what we are doing.”