News Release
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Date: February 21, 2012
Contact: Owen Putman
Number: 312-886-2597

Five Indicted for Distributing Methamphetamine on Minnesota’s Iron Range

February 21 - (Minneapolis, MN) Jack Riley, Special Agent-in-Charge of the Chicago Field Division of the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), and B. Todd Jones, United States Attorney for the District of Minnesota, announced a federal indictment that charges four men and one woman with distribution of methamphetamine, in northern Minnesota.

The indictment, which was originally filed on February 14, 2012, charges Antonio Chavez Aguirre, Jr., age 29, of Balsam Lake, Wisconsin; David Michael Cook, age 38, and Trisha Nicole Cullen, age 28, both of Hibbing; David Richard DeKing, age 54, of Carlton; and Shad Daniel O’Neil, age 33, of Grand Rapids, with one count of conspiracy to distribute more than 500 grams of methamphetamine. In addition, Aguirre Jr., Cook, and DeKing were charged with one count of possession with intent to distribute 50 or more grams of methamphetamine; Cullen and O’Neil were charged with one count of possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine; and O’Neil was charged with one count of being a felon in possession of firearms. The indictment was unsealed on February 17, 2012, following the defendants’ initial appearances in federal court.

The indictment alleges that from spring of 2011 through January 26, 2012, the defendants conspired with each other and others to distribute 500 or more grams of methamphetamine. It also alleges that the defendants possessed with intent to distribute methamphetamine (O’Neil on August 23, 2011; Cook on November 4, 2011; Cullen on November 17, 2011; DeKing on January 3, 2012; and Aguirre, Jr., on January 26, 2012). In addition, on November 7, 2011, O’Neil allegedly possessed two handguns. Because O’Neil has been previously convicted of a felony, he is prohibited under federal law from possessing firearms at any time. His prior convictions include fifth-degree sale of marijuana in 1996, first-degree burglary in 1997, issuance of dishonored checks in 2001, and conspiracy to offer forged checks in 2001, all of them occurring in St. Louis County. In addition, O’Neil has been convicted in Pine County for a second-degree controlled substance offense (2003) and Itasca County for a fifth-degree controlled substance offense (2009).

If convicted, the defendants face a potential maximum penalty of life in prison for conspiracy. Possession with intent to distribute 50 or more grams carries a potential maximum penalty of 40 years in prison, while possession with intent to distribute under 50 grams carries a potential maximum penalty of 20 years. In addition, O’Neil faces a potential maximum penalty of ten years in federal prison for being a felon in possession of a firearm. All sentences will be determined by a federal district court judge.

This case is the result of an investigation by the United States Drug Enforcement Administration, the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension, the Boundary Waters Drug Task Force, and the Polk County Sheriff’s Office (Wisconsin). It is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Thomas M. Hollenhorst.

An indictment is a determination made by a grand jury that there is probable cause to believe that an offense has been committed by a defendant. The defendant is presumed innocent and is entitled to a fair trial, at which the government has the burden of proving guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

Parents and children are encouraged to educate themselves about the dangers of drugs by visiting DEA’s interactive websites at www.JustThinkTwice.com, www.GetSmartAboutDrugs.com and www.dea.gov.

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