A North Dakota man was sentenced to 17 years in prison after pleading guilty to charges of distribution of methamphetamine and the illegal use of a firearm while engaging in drug trafficking. In their Nov. 4 announcement, federal prosecutors claimed the charges were related to his alleged participation in the violent kidnapping and beating of another man in 2012.
The 51-year-old Williston man was allegedly involved in a criminal operation that distributed methamphetamine throughout western North Dakota. In August 2012, the group's activities caught the attention of authorities after a man was reportedly attacked in Williston with razors and brass knuckles, strangled and then put in the trunk of a car before being left in front of a residence in Culbertson, Montana. The man, however, whom investigators believe was attacked because group members believed he might be a police informant, survived the ordeal and went to authorities.
When the defendant's home was searched by investigators in January 2013, they purportedly discovered 24 firearms inside. They also allege that the man, who is a convicted felon and prohibited from possessing a firearm, wielded a gun during the attack in 2012.
Individuals accused of drug crimes in North Dakota, particularly drug trafficking or distribution, will likely face serious consequences if found guilty. However, during the course of an investigation, law enforcement investigators must adhere to strict protocols and evidentiary standards before making an arrest or executing a search warrant. Furthermore, any person facing criminal drug charges has the right to obtain a defense attorney to represent them. In some instances, an attorney may be able to weaken the prosecution's case by challenging evidence or discrediting witnesses in order to get reduced charges or a lighter sentence.
Source: Connecticut Post, "Member of ND oil patch meth ring sentenced", Josh Wood, November 04, 2014