Suspects in Brown County cocaine ring appear in court

Suspects arrested in a cocaine bust in Brown County appear in court, March 15, 2017. (WLUK)

GREEN BAY (WLUK) -- Seven of the 15 people who were arrested in Tuesday’s Brown County cocaine bust appeared in court Wednesday afternoon for probable cause hearings.

In court, Brown County prosecutors outlined a cocaine ring that multiple local law enforcement agencies spent six months investigating.

“This drug trafficking organization was obtaining cocaine, manufacturing crack cocaine, and reselling large amounts of crack cocaine, cocaine in the Brown County area,” said Bryant Dorsey, an assistant district attorney.

No one in the investigation has been charged yet, and only suspects identified as mid to low-level participants appeared in court.

Prosecutors, however, identified Charles Howard, James Allen, and Joshua Cook as top tier dealers.

From June 1st through Tuesday's arrests, law enforcement seized a kilo of cocaine and conducted 43 controlled cocaine purchases. Prosecutors say a large number of those purchases were at Edward Allen's Eastman Avenue home.

“It's been used as a drug trafficking place for quite some time,” said Dorsey.

Lee Schuchart, a public defender representing Allen indicated the probable cause is weak in outlining Allen's involvement.

“I think Mr. Allen can be linked to maintaining a drug trafficking house only in terms of probable cause,” said Schuchart. “I think linking him to conspiracy or possession or other things, there are no extra facts specifically related to Mr. Edward Allen.”

Beyond Allen's Eastman Avenue home, prosecutors also linked Green Bay residences on Deckner Avenue and Quincy Street to the cocaine ring. An Anderson Drive home in Ashwaubenon was also mentioned in court. Prosecutors say that is the home of Elizabeth Vanhemelryk, the girlfriend of one of the accused ringleaders.

“She works as a mule we allege for the drug trafficking organization,” said Dorsey.

Jeanette Jorgensen and Tanya Bonifas, girlfriends of the other two alleged ringleaders also appeared in court.

Formal charges are expected to be filed in the investigation before the end of the month.

The suspects who appeared in court all received bonds ranging from $500 to $50,000 cash.

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