JANESVILLE, Wis. – Earlier this month, a jury in Rock County found Keith J. Rose guilty on all counts, including the manufacturing and delivering of methamphetamine, knowingly possessing methamphetamine waste, maintaining a drug trafficking place, and possession of methamphetamine.
In February 2017, the Rock County Sheriff’s Office, with assistance from the Janesville Police Department and the Wisconsin Department of Justice (DOJ) Division of Criminal Investigation (DCI), executed a search warrant on Rose’s residence. DCI agents also assisted in the clean-up and containment of the lab. On April 9, 2018, a jury found Rose guilty of all five counts. A sentencing hearing is scheduled on June 5, 2018. Rock County Assistant District Attorney Rich Sullivan prosecuted the case.
“Meth use has quietly surged alongside the opioid epidemic in Wisconsin,” said Attorney General Brad Schimel. “Of course, this surge has been anything but quiet to law enforcement and social services in our state, as too often, innocent children are living in the homes where meth is being produced and/or abused. Thanks to law enforcement, the prosecutor, and DOJ agents, another lab has been taken down and a child is no longer in danger.”
“I would like to commend the work of the Janesville Police Department and the attorney general’s agents for their efforts in investigating the illegal production, distribution and use of methamphetamines in Rock County,” said Rock County District Attorney David O’Leary. “I would also recognize ADA Rich Sullivan for his work in this case but also the prosecutors in the District Attorney’s office who tirelessly work to confront the statewide epidemic of heroin and methamphetamines. In that effort, the Rock County District Attorney’s office is partnering with the Janesville Police Department in the Drug Endangered Children’s program in an effort to address the harm caused to the children of Rock County when they are exposed to these incredibly harmful and addictive substances.”
The investigation also revealed that a child lived at the residence and had been exposed to the very harmful chemicals at the meth laboratory. Unfortunately, this is not uncommon. Many times, young children who live in homes where methamphetamine is abused or manufactured test positive for the drug and a number of very young children have died from exposure to drug paraphernalia that belonged to their parents. On Monday, April 16, Governor Walker signed into law a new provision that adds a drug endangered child component to the state’s existing child neglect statute and explicitly protects children from neglect resulting from the use, distribution, or manufacture of controlled substances.
DOJ also combats methamphetamine through its commitment to the Drug endangered Children Program (DEC). Cynthia Giese, a DCI Special Agent in Charge (SAC), leads Wisconsin’s DEC program and also is currently serving as the acting chairwoman of the nationwide program as well. DEC is comprised of multi-disciplinary professionals including law enforcement, child protective services, medical providers, prosecutors, school personnel, and corrections officers. All of these professionals play a role in the rescue and support of drug endangered children. The children are provided with services that assist in providing the drug endangered child with a safe environment in which to live and grow up.
Attorney General Schimel has taken additional actions against rising methamphetamine abuse in Wisconsin:
- Committed $50,000 to assist the Alliance for Wisconsin Youth, Marshfield Clinic Health System, and the Northwoods Coalition with kNOw Meth, a methamphetamine prevention public awareness campaign.
- Appointed an assistant attorney general (AAG) to aid local district attorneys and law enforcement in the prosecution of methamphetamine-related cases. This AAG represents the state in criminal cases; advises local prosecutors on matters relating to methamphetamine trafficking; and assists in the development of legislation concerning the growing threat that methamphetamine poses to local communities.
- Hired an analyst at the Wisconsin Statewide Information Center (WSIC) and purchased equipment for investigating meth labs; and is providing training and financial support for the efforts of local law enforcement agencies and multi-jurisdictional drug task forces. Funding for these initiatives comes from a $1.5 million Methamphetamine Initiative Grant from the United States Department of Justice
- Hired four additional criminal investigation agents who are focused on drug interdiction and drug trafficking.
- Increased spending on treatment alternative and diversion courts (TAD) in 51 counties and two tribes, with more than $6 million provided annually to support these local programs.
- In 2017, Attorney General Schimel successfully sought a stay from the Supreme Court of the United States in Anderson, et al. v. Loertscher, a challenge to the state’s Unborn Child Protection Act. The Unborn Child Protection Act or 1997 Wisconsin Act 292 gives state actors the legal authority to assist substance-addicted, pregnant women with their addiction, thus protecting both the mothers and their unborn children.