Village resident charged with operating drug house near school after investigators find evidence in garbage
A 34-year-old man who authorities suspect was operating a methamphetamine lab in Fredonia was charged last week in Ozaukee County Circuit Court with running a drug house in the heart of the village.
Eric M. Zukaitis faces felony charges of possession with intent to deliver methamphetamine near a school, maintaining a drug trafficking place and second-offense possession of marijuana.
He also faces a misdemeanor charge of possession of drug paraphernalia.
In all instances, he is charged as a repeat offender and would face additional penalties if convicted.
According to the criminal complaint, a confidential informant working with the Ozaukee County Anti-Drug Task Force told authorities that he purchased methamphetamine from Zukaitis, who frequently uses the drug. After the informant ingested the drug, he said, he immediately knew that Zukaitis had made it himself.
The informant said he believed Zukaitis made methamphetamine using the one-pot method in which the drug is produced by mixing several chemicals in plastic bottles rather than in a more sophisticated lab.
On Jan. 13 and Feb. 3, authorities picked up garbage left in a bin at the end of Zukaitis’ driveway and sorted through it.
Among the items found was a bottle of Drano Max Gel, a clog dissolver that contains sulfuric acid, which is used to make methamphetamine, the complaint states.
Also found in the garbage were plastic bags and syringes with traces of methamphetamine in them, empty syringe packages and items such as letters and an identification badge linking the garbage to Zukaitis, according to the complaint. On Feb. 7, members of the Anti-Drug Task Force searched the duplex in the 400 block of Fredonia Avenue where Zukaitis lived with his 12-year-old daughter on the second floor.
Authorities found Zukaitis in the kitchen of the lower level near a cabinet containing drug paraphernalia such as glass pipes used for smoking crystal methamphetamine, tourniquets and syringes, the complaint states.
Also found in the duplex were six Adderall pills, an amphetamine used to treat attention deficit disorder but also abused by people seeking a high similar to cocaine, syringes containing methamphetamine and eight cell phones, according to the complaint.
Last week, Ozaukee County Circuit Judge Paul Malloy set bail for Zukaitis at $15,000 and ordered him not to have contact with his daughter and to maintain absolute sobriety.
Possession with intent to deliver methamphetamine is punishable by a maximum 10 years in prison and five years of extended supervision. Because Zukaitis is accused of selling drugs within 1,000 feet of Divine Savior Catholic School, he would face additional time in prison if convicted.
Because he would be a repeat offender if convicted, he could be sentenced to even more time in prison.
The other two felonies he faces are each punishable by a maximum 1-1/2 years in prison and two years of extended supervision, plus addition time in each case because he would be a repeat offender if convicted.
Zukaitis was convicted of possessing narcotic drugs in 2012 in Milwaukee County.
According to court records, Zukaitis was also convicted of burglary and robbery with use of force in Ozaukee County in 2001. He was sentenced to eight years in prison but that sentence was stayed and he was placed on probation for eight years.
He was also convicted of burglary in 2000.