Ten people were arrested Thursday night as part of a drug investigation in the Tomah area. Detective Eric Matson of the Monroe County Sheriff’s Department issued a narcotics search warrant and eight arrest warrants, which led to a wide sting that covered several locations, including one possible manufacturing site for cocaine and marijuana.
Arrested on charges of manufacture/deliver cocaine were: Aaron M. Rudd, 19, of Tomah and Jeremy E. Garber, 22, of Warrens.
Arrested on charges of manufacture/deliver marijuana were: Matthew R. Martin, 21, Jaytee R. Welch, 19, Chad D. Pergande, 18, Thane M. Wagner, 24, all of Tomah; and Heather M. Wangen, 21, of La Crosse.
Mandy J. Bacholl, 20, of Tomah was charged with violating her probation, and two additional persons, not under warrant, were arrested during the operation: Cody A. Stephenson, 21, of Warrens for possession of THC (marijuana) and Jill M. Welch, 44, of Tomah for disorderly conduct and resisting/obstructing.
“I guess I was in the wrong place at the wrong time,” said Stephenson. “I got a ride from some friends to go to work milking cows when suddenly we were pulled over by five squad cars.”
Stephenson says he was arrested for possession of THC because it was found in the vehicle, though not on his person. He says that when arrested, he was pushed down into the dirt with an AR - 14 assault rifle pointed at his head and later, when searching his things, an officer purposely crushed his cigarettes.
“I was scared and had no idea what was going on,” said Stephenson. “No one told me what it was about. No one read me my rights or even interviewed me at the station. They searched me, found nothing, but still issued me a citation.”
The arrests are part of an ongoing investigation by the Monroe County Sheriff’s Department for drug manufacturing and trafficking. They were assisted by officers of the Tomah and Sparta police departments, Juneau County Sheriff’s Department and Monroe County Combined Tactical Unit.