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California man pleads guilty to federal drug charges in WisconsinSubmitted: 12/15/2017
MADISON - A drug distributor from California hoped to flood northern Wisconsin with meth to create more addicts.  Now, Marcos Castaneda faces life in federal prison.

Castaneda, 37, pleaded guilty in federal court in Madison for providing nearly $6 million of meth between 2013 and 2016.


A released from the U.S. Department of Justice says Castaneda had a network of dealers in places like Wausau, Merrill, and Medford. Castaneda would transport the meth from Pomona, California to Minneaplois. Then, drivers would hide the drugs in coolers and drive rental cars to various communities in Wisconsin.

Sales jumped in late 2015, when trafficking increased to two to three pounds per week. The total street value of the drugs was $5.7 million.

Nineteen other defendants in Castaneda's network already pleaded guilty to federal charges. The harshest sentence for those defendants was 18 years in prison.

Castaneda will be sentenced in February. He faces up to life with a minimum of 10 years in prison.

Story By: Newswatch 12 News Team

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 LOCAL NEWS

RHINELANDER - If you're still waiting on those holiday gifts to come in the mail, you're not alone!

Cyber Monday orders hit an all-time high record, and now, UPS is struggling to keep up.

Last week the company said to expect a two day delay on standard shipping time.

So what does this mean for you?

"You can get a little bit of a backlog. A lot of people have to do a lot of sorting with all those packages," says Postal Express manager Wendy Thompson.

But that delay mainly applies to stores shipping to you.

That's not so much the case for you shipping to a friend or family member.

"From our area there hasn't been a noticeable delay," says Wendy.

If you're a bit behind schedule sending you gifts, you still have time, but you need to move fast on UPS or FedEx ground shipping Friday.

December 19th is the last day for USPS first class mail and FedEx Express.

If you choose to go with UPS, Dec 18th is the deadline for 3 day shipping.

The best way to keep an eye on your holiday shipment is to hang on to your receipt and make sure you save the tracking number.

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EAGLE RIVER - Snowmobilers in Vilas County can get ready to ride.

Most trails in Vilas County will be opening at 5:00 p.m. Friday.

Vilas County Recreation Administrator Dale Mayo says the exception is the Phelps Trail system.

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RHINELANDER - After a year of hearings, arguments, and appeals, Marshfield Clinic finally got what it wanted on Thursday afternoon.

The Oneida County Board of Adjustment granted a permit for Marshfield Clinic to build a 12-bed, $35 million hospital in Minocqua.

Marshfield Clinic Regional Medical Director Dr. William Melms said construction would likely begin in spring.

"We are absolutely elated with the decision. We are very pleased," Melms said after the meeting.

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RHINELANDER - The initial emergency call -- someone screaming for help on a lake near Rhinelander Thursday afternoon -- sounded bad, but it appears it was a false alarm.

Search and rescue crews called in Newbold's air boat to search Lake Thompson around 1:45 p.m.  

Pelican Deputy Fire Chief Norman Peterson said first responders first searched the west bay shoreline on foot.  They then used the air boat to sweep the entire lake, but didn't find anyone, any tracks, or any places someone might have gone through the ice.

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 REGIONAL NEWS

ODANAH - The fatal shooting of a 14 year old boy by a sheriff's deputy on a northern Wisconsin reservation has renewed discussions over whether the tribe should be policing itself.

Eighth-grader Jason Pero was killed by an Ashland County deputy about a month ago outside his home on Bad River Band reservation.

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MADISON - Leaders of a new bipartisan task force tackling ways to improve Wisconsin's much-maligned school funding formula are realistic about chances any changes will be made.

The panel that met for the first time Thursday is the latest in a long line of groups that have studied ways to improve the formula.

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BUFFALO COUNTY - Authorities in western Wisconsin have identified two family members who died in a mobile home fire.

30 year old Douglas Shawley and 2 year old Genevieve Shawley died when fire swept their home in the Buffalo County community of Buffalo City on Tuesday.

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MADISON - Wisconsin hunters and conservationists will have to wait a few more months to see final updates to the state Department of Natural Resources' long-term chronic wasting disease plan.

DNR big game officials have been working for more than a year on updates to the plan.

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