By Shereen Siewert
The leader of a Wausau methamphetamine distribution ring that resulted in more than a dozen arrests and seizures of more than 5 pounds of drugs was sentenced Thursday to 13 years in federal prison, according to a U.S. Department of Justice news release.
Lisa Xiong, 33, was sentenced by Chief U.S. District Judge James D. Peterson for her role in the conspiracy. She pleaded guilty on Sept. 29. A Wausau-area man, 51-year-old John Hewitt was also sentenced Tuesday to five years in federal prison.
Throughout the course of the conspiracy, from November 2018 through June 2019, Lisa Xiong made numerous trips to Minnesota to pick up pound quantities of almost pure methamphetamine from several sources, prosecutors said. She oversaw at least 10 people in the Wausau area who distributed the methamphetamine on her behalf. Though agents seized nearly 5 pounds of methamphetamine in connection with the investigation, prosecutors say the conspiracy was responsible for well over 10 pounds of drugs flowing into the Wausau area.
Xiong has a significant criminal history and was on supervision in two Marathon County cases while overseeing her drug-trafficking operation. Judge Peterson remarked on her increasing leadership role while taking advantage of people devastated by methamphetamine.
Xiong used multiple methamphetamine addicts to insulate her from police detection by dealing for her and collecting money, police said.
Prosecutors say Gates promised Xiong thousands of dollars to contribute towards pounds of methamphetamine during his role in the conspiracy and Xiong considered him a trusted source of money. Gates’s relevant conduct consisted of over two pounds of methamphetamine that he was distributing in his community while on supervision in a Wood County case for possessing methamphetamine. Judge Peterson acknowledged that though Gates is an addict, he was a fairly sophisticated dealer who was a step-up from a street-level dealer.
Ten individuals were charged in an indictment returned by a federal grand jury in September 2019 for their roles in this methamphetamine distribution conspiracy. Lisa Xiong and John Gates are the fourth and fifth defendants to plead guilty and be sentenced. The others are:
- Meng Xiong, Wausau, who was sentenced to 5 years on June 12
- Chou Xiong, Wausau, who was sentenced to 78 months on December 8
- Soua Khang, Wisconsin Rapids, who was sentenced to 7 years on December 9
The charges against these defendants were the result of an investigation conducted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation; Central Wisconsin Narcotics Task Force; Marathon County Sheriff’s Office; Wisconsin Department of Justice Division of Criminal Investigation; Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office; Wausau Police Department; Everest Metro Police Department; and Wisconsin State Patrol. The prosecution of the cases has been handled by Assistant U.S. Attorney Diane Schlipper.
Read the original story detailing the arrests here.