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Monroe man gets 3 years on drug charges
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MONROE - A Monroe man involved with a Cadiz methamphetamine laboratory was sentenced to three years in prison Monday on meth-related charges.

Jose Orellana, 51, was sentenced to three years in prison followed by three years of extended supervision and a consecutive three-year probation term.

Orellana was found guilty of a Class D felony charge of manufacturing methamphetamine and a Class H felony charge of knowingly possessing methamphetamine production waste. An additional eight charges - seven counts of purchasing more than 7.5 grams of pseudoephedrine product within a 30-day period and one count of maintaining a drug trafficking place - were dismissed.

Orellana was charged along with three members of his family after an agent of the State Line Area Narcotics Team found a homemade methamphetamine manufacturing assembly at a Cadiz residence on Dec. 28. Family members also charged were his wife, Christina Orellana, 41; his daughter, Alexandra Orellana, 22; and his brother-in-law, Anthony L. Herrera, 26, all of Monroe.

Each member of the family would purchase large amounts of pseudoephedrine, a common methamphetamine precursor, and other paraphernalia for use in the lab.

Alexandra Orellana was sentenced to three years of probation in May. The other two members of the group have yet to enter pleas on their charges.

Green County District Attorney Gary Luhman described Jose Orellana's attitude toward his crime as "one of malicious indifference." He added that Orellana had allowed his own addictions to controlled substances to affect his family and community.

Orellana was found guilty of driving while intoxicated once in 2009 in Fond du Lac County and again in 2012 in Green County.

However, Luhman noted that Orellana had been gainfully employed as a herdsman for more than 15 years.

Orellana was born in El Salvador in 1965, said Orellana's attorney, Jair Alvarez. Orellana was raised by his paternal grandparents and learned how to work with livestock.

"Cattle is all he's ever known," Alvarez said.

In 1979, the Salvadoran Civil War began. After Orellana finished high school, his grandparents smuggled him into California to avoid being forced to fight. There Orellana met and married his wife before moving to Wisconsin.

Alvarez said Orellana began using drugs so that he would be able to work more. In addition to caring for his immediate family, Orellana would send money back home to his surviving family in El Salvador.

Alvarez also said that Alexandra Orellana and Herrera both blamed Christina Orellana for introducing meth into the family, concluding that Jose Orellana was not entirely to blame for the family's crimes. He added that none of the meth produced was distributed outside of the family - all of it was made purely for the family's consumption.

While Alvarez recommended a lighter sentence - two years of imprisonment instead of three - he agreed with the findings of the pre-sentencing investigation.

Orellana made a statement with the aid of an interpreter.

"I'm very sorry for the error that I have committed," Orellana said. "I didn't understand that I was committing an error when I was committing it."

"God willing, when I'm out, you will never see me again for drugs or alcohol," Orellana said.