News Release
Date: February 27, 2012
Contact: Owen Putman
Number: 312-886-2597

Leader of Violent, Large Scale Drug Trafficking
Organization Sentenced to 32 Years

February 27 (Fargo, ND) Jack Riley, Special Agent-in-Charge of the Chicago Field Division of the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and Lynn Jordheim, First Assistant U.S. Attorney in the District of North Dakota announced that Jeremy Jon Hoff,24, from Bird Island, Minnesota, was sentenced today by U.S. District Judge Ralph R. Erickson, to 32 years in federal prison, for his role in a large-scale drug trafficking conspiracy. The conviction was the result of an Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) investigation entitled Operation Johnny #1.

Hoff was the leader of a Drug Trafficking Organization (DTO) that perpetrated violence and intimidation in furtherance of its illegal activities. During the course of the conspiracy, the DTO transported over 10 pounds of methamphetamine from Minnesota to the Valley City North Dakota area.

On March 20, 2011, Hoff discharged a firearm in a trailer home near Granite Falls, Minnesota, for the purpose of threatening and intimidating an individual that Hoff believed may be cooperating with law enforcement. After Hoff was taken into custody, for the shooting incident, he solicited another inmate to murder two witnesses. Hoff solicited the inmate after learning of the federal investigation into his drug trafficking activities. The targets of the murder plot were the victim of the shooting incident near Granite Falls and another co-conspirator.

“This guilty verdict sends a message to those who would prey on our communities through drug trafficking and violence. For the safety of our citizens, we will continue to utilize all available resources to ensure that members of violent DTOs are held responsible for their crimes,” said SAC Jack Riley.

In Fargo, First Assistant U.S. Attorney Lynn Jordheim said, “OCDETF investigations are designed to target the leaders of criminal organizations, particularly those involved in violent crime to further their criminal activity. Intelligence based investigations like Operation Johnny #1 protect our community by targeting the leaders of these organization and bringing them to justice.”

Jordheim also added, “I also want to recognize the outstanding efforts of Assistant U.S. Attorney and OCDETF Chief Chris Myers and his team from our office and from local, state and federal law enforcement in producing the outstanding results of Operation Johnny #1. These dedicated men and women continue to work hard and produce great results for the citizens of North Dakota and the United States.”

To date, defendants that have been sentenced in Operation Johnny #1 on drug conspiracy and witness tampering charges include:

Kristen Suann Klubben - Fargo, North Dakota
Conspiracy to Distribute Controlled Substances -180 months

Luke Anthony Bina - Pine City, Minnesota
Witness Tampering - 72 months

John Leo Hatcher - Valley City, North Dakota
Conspiracy to Distribute Controlled Substances - 60 months

Alysha Clarice Sabby - Valley City, North Dakota
Conspiracy to Distribute Controlled Substances - 48 months

Kyle Michael Ronnigen - Valley City, North Dakota
Conspiracy to Distribute Controlled Substances - 21 months

The following defendants have pleaded guilty and are awaiting sentencing:

Ryan Utvick - Williston, North Dakota
Sentencing date: March 19, 2012 - Conspiracy to Distribute Controlled Substances

Jarrod Aaron Yokum - Valley City, North Dakota
Sentencing date: March 12, 2012 - Conspiracy to Distribute Controlled Substances

OCDETF is a Department of Justice program initiated in 1982 that facilitates the cooperation of federal, state and local law enforcement agencies as well as the efficient allocation of resources to identify, target and dismantle large-scale domestic and international drug trafficking organizations.

Operation Johnny #1 is an investigation lead by the Drug Enforcement Administration, Fargo Resident Office. The state and local agencies assisting with the investigation were: the North Dakota Bureau of Criminal Investigation; West Fargo Police Department; CEE VI Drug Task Force, Willmar, Minnesota; Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension; Cass County Drug Task Force; Yellow Medicine County, Minnesota Sheriff’s Department; Yellow Medicine County, Minnesota Attorney’s Office; and the Meeker County, Minnesota Attorney’s Office. Assistant U.S. Attorney Chris Myers prosecuted the cases.

Parents and children are encouraged to educate themselves about the dangers of drugs by visiting DEA’s interactive websites at, and