May 28, 2015
Contact: Cori Rizman
Phone Number: (312) 353-7875
Forty-One Defendants Charged With Conspiracy To Traffic Heroin And Prescription Opioids To Upper Midwest Indian Reservations
Defendants trafficked heroin and other drugs to the Red Lake and White Earth Indian Reservations from Detroit, Chicago, and Minneapolis
ST. PAUL, Minn. - ― United States Attorney Andrew M. Luger today announced the indictment of 41 members of a multi-state heroin trafficking conspiracy. The 41 defendants named in the indictment were charged with Conspiracy to Distribute Heroin, Methamphetamine, Oxycodone, Hydromorphone, Hydrocodone, and Methadone. Several defendants were charged with additional crimes related to the drug trafficking scheme, including firearms offenses. The defendants are making initial appearances this week before Magistrate Judge Tony Leung in U.S. District Court in St. Paul, Minn.
“The indictment of the Beasley drug trafficking organization is emblematic of our commitment to combatting heroin trafficking in Minnesota,” said U.S. Attorney Andrew Luger. “These defendants, led by Omar Beasley, represented the most significant source of heroin in Indian Country. Through close collaboration with our federal, local, and Tribal law enforcement partners, we have shut down this major pipeline that was spreading heroin across the Red Lake and White Earth Indian Reservations and the surrounding communities.”
“The Omar Beasley heroin and prescription drug trafficking organization cared nothing about the collateral damage it inflicted upon neighborhoods, families, and especially young children on tribal lands in Minnesota and elsewhere in the Midwest,” stated DEA Minneapolis-St Paul Assistant Special Agent in Charge Dan Moren. “Beasley and the 40 other members of his organization believed that federal, state, local and tribal law enforcement agencies throughout the region were not speaking with one another and connecting the dots…they were wrong.”
Red Lake Police Department’s Public Safety Director William Brunelle said: “We have sent a clear message to drug trafficking organizations that drug dealing will not be tolerated on or near Tribal reservations. I have a great appreciation and the utmost respect for all law enforcement agencies participating in this drug investigation. This is a perfect example of how multiple law enforcement agencies can successfully collaborate against one common enemy that is devastating both Indian and Non-Indian communities alike. Drug dealers have no borders to follow and law enforcement has proven that they will cross all borders to get the job done as well.”
White Earth Police Department’s Public Safety Director Randy Goodwin said: “We are proud of the hard work and dedication that resulted in the arrests of a criminal organization that prospered from poisoning many people on the White Earth Nation. Many lives, families and communities have been damaged or destroyed from this poison. Now, the hard work of healing and wellness begins!”
“I am very proud of the fantastic job that ATF, DEA, BCA, the Paul Bunyan Task Force and other law enforcement agencies did working collaboratively with the common goal of dismantling the Beasley drug trafficking organization,” stated ATF St. Paul Field Division Special Agent in Charge James C. Modzelewski. “I am confident that this investigation has significantly impacted the flow of illegal narcotics and violations of federal firearms laws in a multi-state area.”
Special Agent in Charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation Minneapolis Division Richard Thornton said: “The FBI is proud to stand shoulder to shoulder with its law enforcement partners when it comes to fighting the scourge of drugs and drug dealing on reservations. Those who would engage in drug dealing should note that law enforcement will always be seeking to uncover their activities."
Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension Superintendent Wade Setter said: “This case came together because of the criminal justice partnerships that are critical when investigating multi-jurisdictional crimes of this nature. This effort will continue as long as criminals endeavor to funnel this deadly drug to the people of our state.”
According to the indictment and documents filed in court, from at least April 2014 until April 2015, Omar Sharif Beasley, 37, led a drug trafficking conspiracy in which he recruited drug sources, managers, distributors, facilitators, couriers and drivers to bring heroin and other drugs to the Red Lake and White Earth Indian Reservations in Minnesota and Native American communities in North Dakota.
According to the indictment and documents filed in court, William David Alonzo, 23, Calvin Beasley, 58, Willie Bellamy, Jr., 67, Ernestine Dukes, 45, Michael Lenior Dukes, 47, Brenda Ann Fagan, 67, Velvet Ilene Johnson, 44, Yvette Kouayara, 53, Burney Abdulah Peoples, 27, Doeron Earl Rayford, 41, Lamarcus Antonio Brock, 37, Stephen Martin Hollis, 37, Michael Travell Collins, 38, Yalonzo Ramon Hull, 50, Stacey Rae Duchaine, 24, Sarah Elizabeth Thompson, 30, and Jodi Lynn Kjolberg, 44, served as the out-of-state branches of the drug trafficking organization. These defendants acted as facilitators, suppliers, transporters, or distributors from Detroit, Mich., Chicago, Ill., Minneapolis, Minn., Milwaukee, Wis., and North Dakota.
According to the indictment and documents filed in court, Travis James Baker, 25, Rose Lynn Barrett, 27, Sonnie Marie Barrett, 26, Timothy Joseph Beaulieu, Jr., 33, Michael Joseph Dominguez, 29, April Marie Graves, 31, Jarvis Allen King, 23, Christopher Erving Peoples, 33, Ravonna Raye Peoples, 44, Sherrlene Rose Roberts, 67, Dale Andrew Sigana, 32, and Robyn Joanne Wipf, 33, served as the Red Lake branch of the drug trafficking organization. These defendants distributed drugs on the Red Lake Indian Reservation on behalf of the conspiracy. They also maintained drug stash houses on the reservation and gave the proceeds of drug sales to co-conspirators.
Several co-conspirators, identified in the indictment as William James Fasthorse, 25, Durial John Jackson, 29, Justin Lee Johnson, 24, Gene Michael Keezer, 37, Nakoya Harris Keezer, 37, Rodney Lee Keezer, 36, Jennifer Lynn Oppegard, 27, Jessica Rae Oppegard, 36, Lee Allen Oppegard, 39, Lucas John Peterson, 26, and Maisie Ann Sargent, 25, served as the White Earth branch of the drug trafficking organization. These defendants facilitated, managed, transported and distributed drugs on the White Earth Indian Reservation on behalf of the conspiracy. They also received and transferred funds, as well as maintained drug stash houses on the White Earth Indian Reservation.
According to the indictment and documents filed in court, between April 2014 and April 2015, the defendants conspired with each other to distribute multiple kilograms of heroin, as well as methamphetamine, oxycodone, hydromorphone, hydrocodone, and methadone to the communities in and surrounding the Red Lake and White Earth Indian Reservations. As part of the drug trafficking conspiracy, Beasley traveled from Minneapolis, Minn. to Red Lake, Minn., White Earth, Minn., and to North Dakota to provide drugs to co-conspirators for distribution on the Indian Reservations. Beasley would then return to major cities in Minnesota, Wisconsin, Illinois, and Michigan to replenish the supply of drugs to bring into Indian Country.
Count One of the indictment alleges multiple overt acts committed by 13 of the defendants in furtherance of the conspiracy. The acts include:
* On October 3, 2014, Omar Beasley, Sonnie Barrett, and Michael Dukes possessed with intent to distribute approximately 1300 grams of heroin.
* On November 6, 2014, Omar Beasley, Calvin Beasley, Brenda Fagan, Yalonzo Hull, and Yvette Kouayara possessed with intent to distribute hydrocodone, hydromorphone, and oxycodone.
* On December 2, 2014, Omar Beasley, Jodi Kjolberg, and Robyn Wipf possessed with intent to distribute approximately 48 grams of heroin.
* On December 9 and 10, 2014, Lee Oppegard distributed approximately 7 grams of heroin.
* On December 14, 2014, Omar Beasley distributed approximately 13 grams of heroin.
* On December 16, 2014, Omar Beasley distributed approximately 15 grams of methamphetamine.
* On March 10, 2015, William Alonzo and Timothy Beaulieu, Jr.,possessed with intent to distribute approximately 200 grams of heroin as well as hydrocodone, methadone, and oxycodone.
* On April 14, 2015, Omar Beasley possessed with intent to distribute approximately 300 grams of heroin.
* On April 15, 2015, Stephen Hollis possessed with intent to distribute approximately 200 grams of heroin.
This case is the result of a cooperative investigation conducted by the Red Lake Police Department, the White Earth Police Department, the Paul Bunyan Drug Task Force, the FBI Safe Trails Task Force, the West Central Minnesota Drug and Violent Crimes Task Force, the Drug Enforcement Administration, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension, assisted by the following law enforcement agencies and task forces, Becker County Sheriff’s Office, Beltrami County Sheriff’s Office, Bemidji Police Department, Bloomington Police Department, Bureau of Indian Affairs, Clearwater County Sheriff’s Office, Customs and Border Protection, Detroit Lakes Police Department, Frazee Police Department, Hubbard County Sheriff’s Office, Mahnomen County Sheriff’s Office, Minnesota Department of Correction, Minnesota State Highway Patrol, Lakes to River Drug Task Force, North Dakota Bureau of Criminal Investigation, Pine to Prairie Drug Task Force, and Wisconsin Department of Criminal Investigation.
This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Deidre Y. Aanstad and Melinda A. Williams.