Drug Enforcement Administration


Richard Salter , Special Agent in Charge

December 19, 2018

Contact: Emily Murray

Phone Number: (402) 964-7950

Wisconsin heroin distributor sentenced to federal prison

OMAHA, Neb., – Jovan Marquis Harris of Milwaukee was sentenced to 25 years in federal prison on each of four counts related to distributing heroin resulting in death or serious bodily injury and 20 years on two final counts as determined by U.S. District Judge Mark W. Bennett, Northern District of Iowa, sitting by designation and announced by United States Attorney Christopher C. Myers on December 18. Harris’ sentences will be served concurrently and he has been ordered to pay $10,715.41 in restitution for funeral expenses, $600 in special assessments and will serve five years of supervised release after his incarceration.

“We’ve seen too many families and friends lose loved ones to the dangerous, and often fatal drug, heroin,” Acting Special Agent in Charge Darin Thimmesch said.  “I’m proud of the fact that DEA worked hand-in-hand with local law enforcement to bring this individual to justice.  We’re constantly working to keep this and other drugs off of the streets and out of our communities.”

Law enforcement’s investigation into a spike in the heroin overdose deaths of individuals in the Fargo-Moorhead area between September 2015 and April 2016 resulted in the indictment of Harris for the overdose death of one person in Moorhead, Minn., on September 1, 2015, and the non-fatal overdoses of two individuals in Fargo, N.D., on August 27 and September 1, 2015. Harris also sold heroin on two occasions in March 2016, to a confidential informant in Fargo, N.D.  The heroin Harris was distributing was brought to the Fargo-Moorhead area from Milwaukee, Wis. 

Harris was convicted by a Fargo jury on May 14, 2018, following a six-day trial.

“As we are painfully aware, many families in our community have been ripped apart by the scourge of opiates,” U.S. Attorney Myers said.  “We will continue to aggressively pursue those individuals who seek to profit from the death and destruction of drug trafficking.  The sentence in this case sends another strong message that in North Dakota, drug traffickers will be held accountable. We must not lose sight of the fact that this is a community-wide problem that needs a community solution – everyone must continue the fight, together. I want to comment the excellent work of this team of prosecutors, support staff, and law enforcement in bringing some measure of justice for the victims in this case.”

This case was investigated by the Drug Enforcement Administration, Moorhead Police Department, Cass County Drug Task Force, Cass County Sheriff’s Office and North Dakota Bureau of Criminal Investigation, with assistance from Cass County State’s Attorney, North Dakota Crime Lab, Minnesota BCA Crime Lab and Ramsey County (Minnesota) Medical Examiner.

This case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Brett Shasky and Assistant U,S. Attorney Jake Rodenbiker.

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