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MADISON - Wisconsin Department of Justice Division of Criminal Investigation Special Agent Ben Poller was among those recognized recently for their work on the South Side Locos street gang investigation in 2008. The gang had been planning to kill a Madison detective and another member of the gang was stopped on his way to kill a rival gang member.
Also recognized were Madison Police Department Detectives George Chavez and Corey Nelson, federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement agent Bob Becker, Assistant U.S. Attorney Timothy O'Shea and ATF Special Agent Jason Salerno.
The work of all involved dismantled the gang and sent four gang leaders to prison.
“This case dealt with an exceptionally dangerous criminal group and I am very pleased with the outstanding efforts by all of the agencies involved,” said Administrator Ed Wall. “Law enforcement's best chance for success is when we all come together against a common threat. Special Agent Poller and his partners in the other agencies did exemplary work and we at the Wisconsin Department of Justice are proud of their commitment and dedication.
Special Agent Poller began his career as a Dane County Deputy in 1995. He was hired by the Division of Criminal Investigation in 1999 and was assigned to the Narcotics Bureau specializing in meth and heroin cases. Special Agent Poller has been on the Statewide Meth Team since 2001 and the DCI Tac Team since it was created.
This marks the second time this year that Special Agent Poller has been recognized by outside agencies for his exceptional work.
The Wisconsin Narcotics Officers Association recognized Special Agents Ben Poller and Jesse Crowe, Criminal Analyst Scott Faralli and DeForest Police Department Detective Jim Pertzborn for their work in a high profile Heroin distribution investigation.
In the late fall of 2008, the Sun Prairie Police Department had multiple subjects suffering from overdoses of heroin. They contacted the Department of Justice – Division of Criminal Investigation to help with the investigation. The case led to multiple connected sources of heroin all over Madison, with many customers throughout Dane and surrounding counties.
The case was turned into a Federal OCDEFT (Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force) investigation, with the following departments involved: Division of Criminal Investigation, Drug Enforcement Administration, Dane County Narcotics and Gang Task force, Deforest Police Department, McFarland Police Department, Middleton Police Department, Sun Prairie Police Department and the US Attorney's Office.
The dealers were predominately from the Chicago area and the investigation showed that they had delivered multiple kilograms of heroin to many users in the Dane County area. Many of the dealers were armed and several had threatened their customers with physical harm if they talked with the police.
On the other end of the investigation, heroin addicts all over the Dane County area were committing many thefts, burglaries and robberies to support their heroin addiction. The money received from these crimes was given to the dealers for the heroin. The families of the users were also very often victims of crimes, committed against them by the user.
As a result of this investigation, in the late summer and fall of 2009, arrests were made leading to nine federal indictments. To date, 30 individuals have been arrested as a result of this investigation. During interviews with the dealers, it was learned that many were related family members. This led the investigation to be coined “Cash Money Cousins”.
The Investigation of the Year award recognizes an individual, group or task force, with an award for performing a specific investigation that had a significant impact on the community.