By Brandi Makuski
Two local residents accused of trafficking heroin have been arrested.
Following what’s been called a “large-scale” investigation involving several departments, 47-year-old Maurice S. Harper and Kendra M. Trzebiatowski, 19, were taken into custody after a traffic stop.
Plover Police Chief Dan Ault said a search warrant was executed at a residence where the two lived on the 3200 block of Wilson Ave. sometime on the afternoon of Dec. 1. The home was, he said, a suspected location of drug activity. The search turned up evidence of marijuana and heroin.
Ault said it was part of an ongoing investigation but declined to provide further detail, though he did say neither Trzebiatowski or Harper were home at the time of the search.
“We were looking for them, we knew what vehicle they were in,” Ault said. “We had the word out with other agencies and we knew they were coming back from Chicago.”
The two were spotted travelling north on I-39 near Coloma as they made their way back into Plover. A search of the vehicle uncovered more than $2,000 in cash and 17 grams of heroin. The 2004 Pontiac Grand Prix they rode in was also confiscated.
“Heroin is a problem; I think every community around is experiencing a problem,” Ault said, adding he recently changed a part-time drug investigator to a full-time job. “That’s new for Plover.”
“A lot of other crimes in the area seem to be associated with drugs at some point,” he said.
Harper was charged in Portage Co. Circuit Court on Wednesday morning with manufacture/deliver heroin, possession with intent-heroin and first-degree recklessly endangering. He is being held at the Portage Co. Jail on a $50,000 cash bond.
Trzebiatowski was charged on Dec. 2 with possession with intent to deliver THC, possession with intent to deliver- heroin, maintaining a drug trafficking place and possession of drug paraphernalia. Her $1,000 cash bond was posted on Thursday.
Both return to court Dec. 14.
Plover police worked in cooperation with the Portage Co. Sheriff’s Department, Stevens Point Police Dept., Wisconsin Rapids Police Department and Waushara Co. Sheriff’s Dept. The investigation involved several purchases of heroin using undercover officers from the Central Wis. Drug Task Force.
Ault said the investigation lead police to suspect Harper and Trzebiatowski were trafficking heroin in the Portage, Wood and Waupaca counties.
“Drugs do not know any borders, so if we weren’t working with the sheriff’s office, if we weren’t working with [Stevens] Point…unless we three agencies have that strong relationship, I think we would have minimal impact in our area,” Ault said.
“I think we see, on a daily basis, drugs transported into Portage County from outside the area,” Sheriff Mike Lukas said. “It’s not just a once-a-month kind of thing; it’s daily.”
Lukas said the sheriff’s office, along with other local police agencies, actively work together to help combat the ongoing drug problem in central Wisconsin.
“There are task forces in northern Wisconsin, southern Wisconsin; we collaborate so we have free-flowing information so we can get a handle on when this stuff in coming in,” Lukas said.