State police and DEA agents have broken up a methamphetamine distribution ring operating in Connecticut and California.  One of the participants is reported to be a former priest in the Bridgeport Diocese.

Prosecutors say 61-year-old Kevin Wallin of Waterbury,  identified in multiple published reports as a former priest at St.Augustine’s Cathedral parish in Bridgeport,  is alleged to have received drugs shipped from California,  and to have sold meth to an undercover officer half a dozen times since September.

Wallin is charged with conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine and with six counts of possession with intent to distribute.

Also charged with conspiracy in the case are 52-year-old Kenneth Devries of Waterbury , 40-year-old Michael Nelson of Manchester,  and two California residents,   43-year-old Chad McCluskey  and 47-year-old Kristen Laschober.

U.S. Attorney for Connecticut David Fein called the effort by State Police and the Drug Enforcement Administration “a model for cooperation between federal and state law enforcement agencies.”  He says they were able to dismantle a “significant methamphetamine distribution organization.”

The charge of conspiracy to distribute 500 grams or more of a mixture and substance containing methamphetamine, and 50 grams of actual methamphetamine,  carries a prison term of ten years to life and a fine of up to ten million  dollars.  Each of the six counts of conspiracy with intent to distribute meth carries a maximum prison term of 20 years and a fine of  up to one million dollars.

Authorities say the investigation is continuing.

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