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Nine indicted on federal drug charges involving meth

MORRIS ­— Nine people in two states, including two people from Stevens County, have been indicted on federal drug charges for the possession and distribution of methamphetamine in Minnesota, North Dakota and South Dakota.

For the last 21 months, the Stevens County Sheriff’s Office, Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension, West Central Drug Task Force, North Dakota Bureau of Criminal Investigations and a DEA Task Force based in Fargo have been involved with this large scale, multi-state methamphetamine distribution investigation, the Stevens County Sheriff’s Office announced Monday.

The investigation led to the discovery of over 40 pounds of methamphetamine, worth about $2.5 million, that had been brought into and distributed in Stevens County and Douglas County over the last 18 months.

The U.S. Attorney’s office in the District of North Dakota has indicted nine individuals for their role in the drug ring. All nine were charged in federal court with conspiracy to possess with the intent to distribute and distribution of a controlled substance.

Fifty-year-old Craig Ray Johnson of rural Alberta was sentenced to 30 months in prison, 48-year-old Lorelei Ann Dierks of rural Chokio was sentenced to 68 months in prison, 45-year-old Darren James Ascheman of Alexandria was sentenced to 17 years in prison and thirty-year-old James Joseph Caswell of Fergus Falls was sentenced to 48 months in prison.

Fifty-seven-year-old Cynthia Marie Hoffman of Campbell was sentenced to 12 months in an in-patient rehabilitation center.

Scott Andrew Anderson of Fargo will be sentenced on Jan. 6, 2015 and Mitchell Phillip Fink of Tenney will be sentenced on Dec. 15, 2014. Court proceedings are still pending on two other males indicted in connection to this case. A tenth person was set to be indicted, but was the victim of a double homicide in Fargo in November 2013.

Because of their criminal histories, Ascheman, Fink, Anderson, and a fourth male have all been identified as career criminals which may carry a sentence of 360 months to life in prison.

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