NEW HAVEN, Conn. (CBSNewYork/AP) – An ex-priest in Connecticut is expected to plead guilty in a crystal meth case.
While serving in the Bridgeport Diocese, Msgr. Kevin Wallin proved to be popular, among congregants and bishops alike. Those who knew him said he had a knack for communicating with everyone in the diverse congregation.
Wallin was scheduled to appear in U.S. District Court in Hartford next week for a hearing in which he would plead guilty to conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute methamphetamine.
The filing Tuesday was obtained by The Associated Press.
Authorities say Wallin, 61, had methamphetamine mailed to him from co-conspirators in California. He allegedly made more than $300,000 in drugs sales out of his apartment in Waterbury last year.
“I think we hope that it begins some closure, that it’s an opportunity for him to come to terms with his actions,” Diocese spokesman Bryan Wallace told WCBS 880 Connecticut Bureau Chief Fran Schneidau.
With his plea, Wallin faces a mandatory minimum of ten years in federal prison.
Wallace said the admission of the drug use left everybody stunned.
“News of the story came as a great shock, certainly to parishioners in the various parishes where Msgr. had worked and even to those closest to him,” he told Schneidau.
He also bought a small adult video and sex toy shop in the nearby town of North Haven named Land of Oz & Dorothy’s Place, authorities said.
Wallin, dubbed in some media as “Monsignor Meth,” was the pastor of St. Augustine Parish in Bridgeport for nine years until he resigned in June 2011, citing health and personal problems. He previously served six years as pastor of St. Peter’s Church in Danbury until 2002.
He was granted a sabbatical in July 2011. The Diocese of Bridgeport suspended him from public ministry last May.
The Connecticut Post reported earlier this year that Wallin had been subjected to an investigation from the Diocese of Bridgeport in 2011, after reports of erratic behavior. Diocese officials had learned that he had been acting out sexually with men in the church rectory, the newspaper reported.
Federal agents arrested Wallin on Jan. 3, and a grand jury indicted him and four other people on drug charges on Jan. 15. All are charged with one count of conspiracy to distribute 500 grams or more of a substance containing meth and 50 grams of actual meth, a crime that carries 10 years to life in prison upon conviction. That’s the charge that Wallin plans to plead guilty to.
Wallin was also charged with six counts of possession with intent to distribute and distribution of meth.
An undercover officer with the state task force bought meth from Wallin six times from Sept. 20 to Jan. 2, paying more than $3,400 in total for 23 grams of the drug, authorities said.
Federal agents say they learned through wiretaps and informants about other sales Wallin was making.
Connecticut U.S. Attorney David Fein said federal and state authorities worked together in “the dismantling of what we allege was a significant methamphetamine distribution organization that spanned from California to Connecticut.”
A message left with his attorney was not immediately returned.
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