Roman Catholic priest Rev. Kevin Wallin of Waterbury, Connecticut, pleads guilty to meth charge

(CNN) -- A suspended Roman Catholic priest pleaded guilty Tuesday to a federal drug charge, the U.S. Attorney's Office for Connecticut announced.

The Rev. Kevin Wallin, 61, of Waterbury, Connecticut, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to distribute crystal methamphetamine. With the plea, he admitted that he received and distributed 1.7 kilograms of the drug, U.S. Attorney David B. Fein said in a statement.

Wallin was arrested January 3 after an investigation that involved wiretaps, confidential sources and an undercover officer, Fein's announcement said. A search of Wallin's apartment found meth, drug paraphernalia and drug packaging materials, said Thomas Carson, Fein's spokesman.

Wallin sold meth to the undercover officer six times between September and January, Fein said.

According to an affidavit that accompanied his indictment in January, Wallin received shipments of meth from two people in California, Kristen Laschober and Chad McCluskey, with the understanding that Wallin would pay them with earnings generated by distributing the drug to his customers and other dealers.

Wallin allegedly got Kenneth Devries, a neighbor in his apartment building, to receive packages and distribute the drug when he was unable to do it himself.

Authorities said they believe Wallin also distributed the drug to alleged dealer Michael Nelson of Manchester.

Laschober, McCluskey, Devries and Nelson were all arrested in January and are awaiting trial. Authorities are still investigating the possibility that others are involved, Carson said.

Wallin faced a maximum term of life in prison and a fine of up to $10 million on seven counts, but his plea agreement calls for a prison sentence of 11 to 14 years. Judge Alfred Covello has scheduled sentencing for June 25 at the United States Court House in Hartford.

CNN made several attempts to contact Fein, federal public defender Kelly Barrett and Diocese of Bridgeport spokesman Brian Wallace for comments, but calls were not returned.

 

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