Priest arrested for ‘helping run cross-country crystal meth distribution ring’
PUBLISHED: 11:01 EST, 17 January 2013 | UPDATED: 11:16 EST, 17 January 2013
A Connecticut priest has been indicted on charges of helping run a cross-country methamphetamine distribution ring, officials said.
Msgr. Kevin Wallin allegedly received the drug shipments from suppliers in California and then sold them to undercover officers at least six different times between last September and the beginning of this month.
Msgr. Wallin, 61, had resigned from his role as pastor of St. Augustine’s in Bridgeport in June 2011, citing health concerns and personal problems.
Msgr. Wallin, who previously served as secretary to bishops Walter Curtis and Edward Egan in Bridgeport, was arrested on January 3 and charged with six counts of possession with intent to distribute crystal meth, NBC Connecticutreported.
His indictment was revealed Wednesday.
Msgr. Wallin left his post as head of St. Augustine’s after nine years and was granted a ‘sabbatical’ by church authorities.
‘During his sabbatical, the Diocese became concerned about Msgr. Wallin’s well-being and have continued to reach out to him,’ the Diocese wrote in a statement.
‘To date, he has not spoken directly with diocesan officials.
‘News of [his] arrest comes with a sense of shock and concern on the part of the Diocese and the many people of Fairfield County who have known him as a gifted, accomplished and compassionate priest.’
Four others were also charged with conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine along with Msgr. Wallin in the joint investigation by the federal Drug Enforcement Administration and the Connecticut State Police’s Statewide Narcotics Task Force.
They were identified as Kenneth Devries, 52,; Michael Neslon, 40,; Chad McCluskey, 43,; and Kristen Laschober, 47.
‘The hard work of the DEA and the Connecticut State Police in this case resulted in the dismantling of what we allege was a significant methamphetamine distribution organization that spanned from California to Connecticut,’ said U.S. Attorney David Fein, according to the Connecticut Post.
Msgr. Wallin faces up to 20 years behind bars and a $2 million fine if convicted.