Skip to main content

3 in Hayward plead guilty to dealing synthetic drugs imported from China

  • Author:
  • Updated:

Federal prosecutors say three residents of Hayward, Wisconsin, could each be sentenced to up to 20 years in prison after pleading guilty to dealing synthetic drugs shipped from China.

The announcement by the U.S. Attorney for western Wisconsin was published by WEAU of Eau Claire.

It came a day after the New York Times reported that makers and providers of synthetic drugs are flourishing in China.

The U.S. Attorney's office says Michael R. Moreno, 39, was placing orders from China for drugs known as "bath salts," – which mimic a stimulant found in some amphetamines.

According to the charges, Paul R. Heidbreder, 57, and Rhonda Jacquinot, 52, provided money to have 500-gram shipments of the drug sent to addresses in Wisconsin and Iowa for distribution in northwestern Wisconsin.

Prosecutors say they were paying less than $2 per gram and selling the bath salts for $100 a gram. Northland's News Center notes that would put the trio's profits at nearly $50,000 for each shipment.

The article in Sunday's New York Times says Chinese companies are selling synthetic drugs online to customers around the world.

According to the Times, at a single website more than 150 Chinese companies are selling the same drug that prosecutors say was being sent to Hayward.

Carla Freedman, an assistant district attorney in New York, prosecuted a ring trafficking drugs from Shanghai. Freedman told the Times: “I know prosecutors in Arizona, Virginia, Minnesota. We’re seeing cases nationwide and ground zero always seems to be China.”

Next Up

police tape

3 at trauma centers in critical condition after rural MN attack

Two victims and the alleged attacker are in critical condition.

grinch neighbor

Neighborhood 'grinch' sends letter to Burnsville family over holiday lights

A Burnsville family's holiday decorations were the subject of an anonymous complaint.


Anthropologie shutters Grand Avenue store, opening planned for Rosedale Center

The popular holiday shopping weekend marked the last for customers of the Grand Avenue store.

hospital, emergency room

Woman found on side of highway after hit-and-run

The 41-year-old was airlifted to a hospital with life-threatening injuries.

Jorden Nicole Borders

Charges: Minnesota woman tortured her kids, removed boy's blood

Warning: This story contains upsetting content.

first snow

Will narrow band of 6+ inches of snow hit Twin Cities Tuesday?

The NWS says a band of 6+ inches is looking likely. It's now a matter of where.


Siblings, ages 19 and 14, killed in crash on icy MN highway

The crash happened around 1:15 a.m. Saturday in Carlton County.

Nicholas Kraus

Man sentenced for fatally striking woman during Uptown protest

Nicholas Kraus, 36, of St. Paul drove into a protest in Uptown last year, killing Deona Marie Knajdek.

Flickr - police lights squad siren - Edward Kimmel

Fleeing suspect crashes into vehicle in Woodbury, 2 injured

The crash occurred Friday afternoon after a pursuit with Woodbury police.

Screen Shot 2022-11-26 at 2.34.44 PM

Yes, that's MN native Jenny Taft in a State Farm commercial

Jenny Taft got her broadcasting career started in Minneapolis in 2011.

crime scene tape - police tape

23-year-old woman critical after shooting in Plymouth

A 23-year-old woman was shot Friday night in Plymouth.

white Christmas

2 MN towns among most 'magical' winter locations in the country

The list was compiled by Trips Discover and published earlier this month.