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Ellsworth man sentenced in marijuana case: apartment contained 6 pounds of pot

Joshua M. Schuster1 / 2
Michael L. Auckland2 / 2

An Ellsworth man caught with more than six pounds of marijuana at his Menomonie apartment was sentenced Thursday to jail time in Dunn County Circuit Court.

Dunn County Circuit Court Judge Rod Smeltzer stayed a four-year prison sentence against Joshua Michael Schuster, and sentenced him to a year in jail and four years on probation. Schuster must also forfeit $4,850 in cash seized by police to the Wisconsin School Fund, Smeltzer ordered.

The 22-year-old was convicted in March of THC possession with intent to distribute, maintaining a drug trafficking place and methamphetamine possession.

University of Wisconsin-Stout Police Sgt. Jason Spetz called the case significant and said it represented the largest drug-and-cash seizure in recent memory at the campus.

But he said Schuster's arrest might not have happened as swiftly were it not for "a little bit of luck."

"We stumbled upon one of the big players right away," he said.

According to a criminal complaint, UW-Stout police, working with members of the West Central Drug Task Force, executed a search warrant at Schuster’s apartment on Nov. 12, 2014, after he sold pot to an informant.

Authorities said a search of the room Schuster lived in turned up more than six pounds of pot and a safe containing the psychedelic drug DMT, LSD blotter paper, Adderall capsules and $4,850 in cash. Assorted drug paraphernalia was also found in the room, the complaint states.

Three containers of suspected hash oil were allegedly found in Schuster’s nightstand.

A freezer at the apartment contained five bags of suspected THC suckers, according to the complaint.

A review of phone records revealed Schuster and his roommate, fellow Ellsworth resident Michael L. Auckland, both sold pot -- as much as a pound at a time -- “over an extended period of time,” according to the complaint.

Auckland, 20, is charged in Dunn County with maintaining a drug trafficking place, THC possession with intent to distribute and LSD possession with intent to distribute.

During the raid, Auckland allegedly told police he was no longer involved in drug dealing after receiving a deferred prosecution the previous year for selling pot in UW-Stout dorms. He admitted to possessing $300 in cash, but said that was money he collected as a stripper, the complaint states.

Auckland turned over his phone to authorities and admitted there would be drug-related messages in it, but said he was texting at the behest of Schuster.

Auckland did not speak with police afterward.

His case is set for an Aug. 17 hearing.