Parham sentenced for reservation fentanyl deal

Former Keshena resident gets 12 years for selling to undercover officer
Kevin Murphy

An ex-Keshena man who sold fentanyl to an undercover officer at the Menominee Casino Resort was sentenced Monday in federal court to 12 years in prison to be followed by eight years supervised release.

According to court documents, Charles A. Parham, also known as “Red” or “Cuzzo,” met with an undercover police office on Sept. 29, 2023, when Parham sold the officer about 5 grams of heroin.

On Oct. 11, 2023, Parham, 42, arranged by text message to sell 20 grams of fentanyl to the officer for $2,000.

Authorities were able to electronically monitor the location of Parham’s phone after obtaining a search warrant. They tracked his phone from Chicago to the pre-agreed location at the casino.

Parham’s vehicle was intercepted in the casino parking lot and Parham was removed from the car. The driver and a rear-seat passenger were also detained and interviewed. The driver said that she just met Parham and knew she was driving to Chicago to pick up drugs to return to the Wausau area. The passenger claimed not to know what was going on. Officers arrested Parham on a probation hold for violating terms of his extended supervision stemming for a prior drug conviction.

Officers found at plastic bag with a “rock and powder substance” inside Parham’s vehicle. The substance weighed about 40 grams or 1.4 ounces and later tested positive for fentanyl.

Parham was indicted in November on one count for selling heroin and one count of possessing fentanyl with the intent to distribute.

He pled guilty in April to the fentanyl charge and faced a five-year mandatory minimum sentence and a guideline sentence of up to 15½ years in prison.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Andrew Maier asked District Judge William Griesbach for a 12-year sentence. Parham’s prior and pending drug cases made him eligible as a career offender and longer sentence.

However, Griesbach agreed with the federal prosecutor that 12 years behind bars was a sufficient punishment and provide deterrence to prevent Parham returning to drug dealing soon.

Parham was previously convicted in Marathon County Circuit Court on a 2014 heroin charge and sentenced to 8 years in prison and five years extended supervision.

His federal fentanyl charge was a violation of his state probation, and he was sentenced in November to 150 days in prison for misdemeanor bail jumping.

Parham’s case was investigated by multiple agencies as part of the Safe Trails Task Force and Native American Drug and Gang Initiative.

NADGI and STTF allow federal, tribal, state, and local law enforcement to partner in an effort to combat drug trafficking and violent crime on the Menominee Reservation.

STTF members are deputized federal officers who identify and target for prosecution individuals who are involved in distribution of dangerous drug on the reservation. Coordination of state resources through NADGI permits efficient communication and evidence processing, which are essential to swift but fair prosecution of offenders, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.