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September 2014


One sentenced, three charged in heroin ring

Pewaukee Village man gets 3 1/2 years in prison

Waukesha – A Village of Pewaukee man was sentenced last week for his role in a major heroin ring, while three others involved in the ring were charged in Waukesha County Circuit Court for deaths caused by an overdose of the drug.

Thomas A. Brinkman, 20, of 516 Park Ave., was sentenced May 20 to 3 1/2 years in prison by Judge Richard Congdon. Congdon also ordered Brinkman to 2 1/2 years of extended supervision to follow his prison sentence.

Brinkman was charged with a felony count of manufacture/delivery of heroin. He was one of 27 people arrested in July 2008 for a heroin ring that stretched from Chicago to Milwaukee and into Waukesha County. The ring was responsible for responsible for 11 overdoses, five of them fatal, according to federal documents. Eleven of the 27 people arrested had ties to the Village of Pewaukee.

Brinkman was not tied to any of the deaths and was seen as a low-level distributor of the drug in Waukesha County.

All were initially charged in the United States Eastern District Court of Wisconsin with conspiracy to distribute heroin and cause death and serious injury. In a plea agreement with federal prosecutors, several agreed to enter guilty pleas in Waukesha County Circuit Court and the federal charges would be dismissed.

On May 19, Luke J. Bandkowski, Jason Lund, and Candice Haid, all with ties to the Pewaukee area, were charged in Waukesha County Circuit Court with first-degree reckless homicide.

Bandkowski, 20, of the Town of Genesee, was charged for the Feb. 20, 2008, death of Jeffrey Topczewski of the City of Muskego.

According to the criminal complaint, Bandkowski told authorities he began using heroin in 2005 and started purchasing the drug from Lonnie Johnson of Milwaukee. Johnson is facing charges in federal court for his role in the drug ring.

Bandkowski said he purchased heroin from Johnson on a daily basis, and as his addiction grew he brought others to Milwaukee to make purchases. Bandkowski said he sold heroin to Jean C. Lawler of West Allis, who in turn sold it to Topczewski. Bandkowski is scheduled to enter a plea May 28.

Lawler, who entered a guilty plea in federal court to the conspiracy charge, talked with Bandkowski after Topczewski's funeral and said she had "gone to the funeral high as a kite and that she felt guilty about what happened," the complaint said. Lawler is to be sentenced Oct. 1.

Haid, 21, of Waukesha, along with Jason M. Lund, 24, of Wauwatosa, both formerly of the Village of Pewaukee, are accused in the death of David Knuth, 25, of the City of Pewaukee on July 3, 2008.

Knuth was with Haid and Lund that day when they purchased heroin in Milwaukee. As Haid drove back from Milwaukee, she heard "gasping/gurgling" sounds and noticed Knuth had stopped breathing, according to the criminal complaint. Haid stopped the car and conducted cardio-pulmonary resuscitation and revived Knuth, the complaint said. A short time later, Haid pulled into the Aurora parking lot in the City of Pewaukee after she realized Knuth had stopped breathing again. Haid called for help, and Lund left the area. Knuth was found unconscious by authorities and later died.

Haid is scheduled to enter a plea July 2.

Lund is also charged with the June 5, 2008, death of Andrew Goetzke, 19, of the Village of Pewaukee. Lund told authorities that in May 2008 he started "hanging out" with Goetzke and on June 5 they went to Milwaukee and purchased heroin. Goetzke used heroin in Milwaukee and then later injected more of the drug when he returned home, where he overdosed and died.

Lund is scheduled to make his initial appearance in court June 15.

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