"Monsignor Meth" Kevin Wallin Expected to Plead Guilty in Case That Snared OC Couple
A suspended, cross-dressing Roman Catholic priest nicknamed "Monsignor Meth" because of his role in a drug operation whose suppliers were alleged to be two South County residents is expected to plead guilty to charges against him Tuesday. Federal court papers in Waterbury, Conn., indicate Kevin Wallin, who was accused in January of laundering drug sales proceeds through his post-priestly Land of Oz adult entertainment shop, will cop to conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute methamphetamine.
Chad McCluskey, 43, of San Clemente; his longtime girlfriend Kristen Laschober, 47, of Laguna Niguel, and two Connecticut men previously entered not guilty pleas at their arraignment hearing on the same federal counts, which carry with them fines of up to $10 million and 10 years to life in prison with convictions.
Kristen Laschober and Chad McCluskey
Wallin had also originally pleaded not guilty, but he filed court papers last week to change his plea, the Associated Press reported.
Court-authorized wire taps, controlled drug buys, physical surveillance and undercover officers led police and Drug Enforcement Administration agents to raid the 61-year-old's apartment on Jan. 3. Methamphetamine, drug paraphernalia and drug packaging materials were found, according to a federal indictment.
Wallin allegedly received drug shipments from the Orange Countians six times between September 2012 and January 2013. McCluskey's Facebook page indicated he worked in "global distribution" for Pure Chip, an Orange County company that distributes electronic equipment.
He and Laschober, a wardrobe stylist, were arrested Jan. 10 in Las Vegas.
The case entered the realm of the bizarre with revelations that Roman Catholic Diocese of Bridgeport, Conn., had relieved Monsignor Wallin of his priestly duties last May after discovering he had sex toys in his apartment and that he was a cross-dresser who had sex in his cathedral's rectory.
After leaving the priesthood, Wallin bought Land of Oz in North Haven, Conn., where the federal indictment accused him of laundering profits from up to $9,000 a week in meth sales. The feds have said a California phone number found with Wallin eventually led to the arrests of McCluskey and Laschober.
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