Third member of cocaine conspiracy sentenced
MADISON, Wis. - Scott C. Blader, United States Attorney for the Western District of Wisconsin, announced that Timothy Hotchkiss, 30, Madison, Wisconsin, was sentenced today by U.S. District Judge William M. Conley to 10 years in federal prison for conspiring to distribute 500 grams or more of cocaine. Hotchkiss pleaded guilty to this charge on May 14, 2019.
Hotchkiss was charged along with 11 other individuals for participating in a cocaine distribution scheme. The investigation revealed that Gregory Smith mailed packages containing cocaine from Houston, Texas, to Joseph Harper in Madison. Postal records from November 2017 to November 2018 showed 32 packages mailed from Smith to addresses in Wisconsin or Iowa associated with Harper. Based on witness statements and multiple cocaine seizures in the case, agents learned that each of the packages contained between a half kilogram and one kilogram of cocaine.
Intercepted communications during the wiretap investigation revealed that Hotchkiss was a highly trusted confidant of Harper and also a frequent cocaine customer. Surveillance showed that Hotchkiss regularly visited Harper at his cocaine stash house in Madison after the arrival of a suspected cocaine package. In addition, Hotchkiss would pool money with Harper in order receive larger shipments of cocaine from Smith. Hotchkiss also assisted Harper with travel arrangements to visit Smith in Houston.
In addition to Smith, Harper, and Hotchkiss, seven other defendants have pleaded guilty in the case. Earlier this month, Judge Conley sentenced Harper to 12 years in prison and Smith to 11 years in prison for their respective roles in the conspiracy.
The charge against Hotchkiss is the result of a joint investigation by the Drug Enforcement Administration, U.S. Postal Inspection Service, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Wisconsin Department of Justice Division of Criminal Investigation, and the Dane County Sheriff’s Office. The investigation was conducted and funded by the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF), a multi-agency task force that coordinates long-term narcotics trafficking investigations. The prosecution of the case is being handled by Assistant U.S. Attorney Aaron Wegner.