Four people arrested following the seizure of an estimated $1 million in meth in Faribault in April 2020, have been sentenced to prison for their roles in a Twin Cities-based methamphetamine trafficking ring.
The Rice County Sheriff's Office and two area drug task forces — the Cannon River Drug & Violent Offender Task Force (which includes the Le Sueur County Sheriff's Office) and Southeast Minnesota Gang and Drug Task Force — assisted with the investigation conducted by the United States Drug Enforcement Administration.
Brandon Earl Swanson, 41, of Crystal, was sentenced to 144 months in prison and five years of supervised release. Jared William Merta, 40, of Montrose, was sentenced to 170 months in prison and five years of supervised release. Wayde Salem Salwei, 46, of Minnetonka, was sentenced to 132 months in prison and five years of supervised release. Katherine Byrd Campbell, 33, of Rochester, was sentenced to time served and five years of supervised release.
Co-defendants Lucas Jay Madison, of St. Paul, and Mark Oren Schorn, also of Montrose, were previously sentenced by Judge Eric C. Tostrud to 235 and 180 months in prison, respectively.
According to court documents, between March 2020 through at least April 2020, the defendants were involved in a large-scale methamphetamine trafficking operation.
On April 14, 2020, law enforcement stopped Madison and Campbell near Faribault, as they traveled back from Phoenix, Arizona. Law enforcement conducted a search of the vehicle and recovered approximately 23 pounds of methamphetamine contained within a backpack. The methamphetamine was intended for delivery to multiple co-conspirators in the Twin Cities and surrounding metropolitan area.
Both Madison and Campbell were charged in Rice County court, but prosecutors dismissed those in May 2020 in favor of federal charges which tend to be harsher.
On the same day, law enforcement conducted multiple search warrants, including Merta’s and Schorn’s apartments in Montrose, Madison’s apartment in St. Paul, and Madison’s car detailing business in Bloomington,, where Madison, Swanson and other co-conspirators conducted their operations. As a result of these searches, law enforcement agents recovered more than $100,000 in U.S. currency, another pound and three quarters of methamphetamine, three handguns, multiple digital scales, THC cartridges, multiple cell phones, and other drug paraphernalia.
Also assisting with the investigation were the Anoka Hennepin Drug Task Force, Wright and Anoka County Sheriff’s offices, the Minnesota State Patrol and the Edina Police Department.