U.S. Department of Justice
United States Attorney
Eastern District of Wisconsin
Eastern District of Wisconsin
For Immediate Release
May 7, 2012
James L. Santelle, United States Attorney
Contact: William Daniels
Brown County Resident Sentenced to 20 Years for Cocaine Dealing and International Gun and Marijuana Trafficking
United States Attorney James L. Santelle announced today that on May 1, 2012, United States District Judge William Griesbach sentenced Brown County resident Jeremiah S. Berg (age: 33) to twenty years in prison for conspiring to trade firearms for high grade Canadian marijuana and for dealing cocaine.
On June 30, 2011, a jury convicted Berg of all counts in a six-count indictment that charged him with conspiracy to distribute marijuana (count one), using firearms in relation to drug trafficking (count two), felon in possession of firearms (count three), and distributing cocaine (counts four, five, and six).
Between December 2007 and March 2008, Berg conspired to buy multiple firearms, most of which were semi–automatic handguns, from street dealers in Green Bay. Berg and his co–conspirator took the illegally–purchased firearms to the New York / Canadian border area to exchange them for at least 30 – 40 pounds of high–grade Canadian marijuana, which Berg brought back and sold in the Green Bay area. Some of the guns were recovered by Canadian authorities in separate investigations. Agents from the Milwaukee office of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) developed evidence that Berg was trading guns for drugs after arresting two of Berg’s Green Bay gun sources who had been illegally purchasing firearms from licensed gun dealers. Those sources, Juan (age: 38) and Catherine (age: 29) Elizondo, who were not part of the drug conspiracy, were convicted and sentenced to respective terms of 39 and 18 months in federal prison for their part in illegal gun dealing. Berg told the ATF agents that he bought between 14–20 firearms from the Elizondos to trade with the Canadian drug sources. Berg already had four felony convictions at the time he was buying and selling guns. During the investigation, Berg met with an undercover ATF agent and expressed his interest in buying more firearms, including fully automatic weapons.
The jury also convicted Berg of dealing cocaine in Green Bay on three occasions in 2011. Those cocaine buys involved a Brown County Drug Task Force (DTF) informant who purchased 1/2 ounce and 1 ounce quantities from Berg. Berg later admitted to DTF agents that he had at least 20–30 cocaine customers in the Green Bay area, and that he could buy multiple ounces up to a kilogram from his cocaine sources. At sentencing, the district court found that overall, Berg’s cocaine dealing involved between 3.5 to 5 kilograms of cocaine.
The district court also found that Berg obstructed justice by committing perjury during his trial, by submitting a false affidavit, and by trying to influence the testimony of a government witness.
The case was investigated by agents from the ATF Milwaukee Office and the Brown County DTF, and was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Timothy W. Funnel.