Distributors in stuffed-animal oxycodone ring sentenced

Man from Onalaska gets 4 years, woman from La Crosse gets 14 months

An Onalaska man and a La Crosse woman were sentenced Wednesday in connection with a stuffed animal Oxycontin distribution ring, the United States Attorney for the Western District of Wisconsin said. 

The John W. Vaudreuil, a U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Wisconsin, said 46-year-old Ed Riel and 56-year-old Jan Dettmann pleaded guilty on Nov. 13 to conspiracy to possess oxycodone with the intent to distribute. Riel was sentenced to 48 months and Dettmann received 14 months. 

In arriving at the sentences in this case, Judge Adelman reasoned that Dettmann committed the offense to feed her drug addiction, was manipulated by Riel, and that she had not previously been sentenced to jail. Adelman noted that Riel appears to have a manipulative personality, committed the offense to feed his drug addiction, and preyed on vulnerable people because of his drug addiction.

Vandreuil’s office said beginning in the summer of 2008 and ending in 2011, oxycodone pills were purchased in Atlanta and Miami and shipped to Dettmann’s property. Dettman also wired money to pay for the packages. 

Riel was the leader of the distribution ring, according to a release. 

In total, investigators said $354,208.71 was wired via MoneyGram for oxycodone pills. After payment was made for the pills, they were sent to various individuals via FedEx in stuffed animals, mostly in Beanie Babies. A total of 39,556 pills were purchased during the course of the conspiracy.

Erica Litsheim was also part of the conspiracy, pleaded guilty, and was previously sentenced to a year and one day in prison, Vandreuil’s office said.