DOJ Seal

Department of Justice

U.S. Attorney's Office
Western District of Wisconsin

For Immediate Release

Wednesday, August 9, 2023
Timothy M. O’Shea
, United States Attorney

La Crosse Man Sentenced to 12 Years for Distributing Methamphetamine and Fentanyl

MADISON, Wis. – Timothy M. O’Shea, U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Wisconsin, announced that Raphiel Kuntu, 31, La Crosse, Wisconsin, was sentenced today by Chief U.S. District Judge James D. Peterson to 12 years in federal prison for conspiring to distribute and possess with intent to distribute 500 grams or more of methamphetamine and 400 grams or more of fentanyl. This prison term will be followed by a 5-year term of supervised release. Kuntu pleaded guilty to this charge on April 25.

The La Crosse Police Department began their investigation of Kuntu and his co-defendant, Paige Roberts, in January 2022. During the course of this investigation, police utilized a confidential informant to purchase methamphetamine and fentanyl from Kuntu on two occasions. In April 2022, officers executed a search warrant at a residence Kuntu shared with Roberts. In their shared bedroom, officers recovered approximately 21 pounds of methamphetamine and 2.5 pounds of fentanyl, along with other controlled substances and a loaded firearm. Kuntu is legally prohibited from possessing a firearm as a result of several prior felony convictions, including Wisconsin convictions for armed robbery and distribution of heroin.

 A search of Kuntu’s and Roberts’ cellphones revealed Roberts was aware of and assisted Kuntu with his drug dealing. She pleaded guilty on May 11 to conspiring to distribute and possess with intent to distribute methamphetamine and fentanyl. A sentencing hearing is scheduled before Judge Peterson on September 19.

At sentencing Judge Peterson stated that a significant sentence was warranted due to the quantity of the drugs Kuntu possessed for distribution and noted that Kuntu’s drug distribution was degrading to the community at large.

The charges against Kuntu and Roberts are the result of an investigation conducted by the La Crosse Police Department and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. Assistant U.S. Attorney Taylor L. Kraus handled the prosecution.

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St. Paul Field Division