Five Men Indicted For Conspiring To Distribute Marijuana
MINNEAPOLIS— A federal superseding indictment that was unsealed yesterday charges five men with conspiring to distribute approximately 132 pounds of marijuana. The indictment charges Boyd Ethan Wilkinson, age 36, of Brighton, Colorado; Cameron Leigh Christensen, age 23, of Andover; Todd Christian Skonnord, age 26, of St. Paul; Robert Lee Bowker, age 33, of Lyons, Colorado; and Anthony W. Raymond, age 37, of Longmont, Colorado, with one count of conspiracy to distribute 50 or more kilograms of marijuana. The indictment, which was filed on November 22, 2011, was unsealed following the defendants’ initial appearance in federal court.
The indictment alleges that from September 1 through October 28, 2011, the defendants conspired with each other to distribute 50 or more kilograms of marijuana, and that on September 30, 2011, the defendants possessed with intent to distribute that marijuana. According to a law enforcement affidavit filed in the case, on September 26, 2011, authorities learned of suspicious activity occurring at the Anoka County Airport in Blaine. Then, on September 30, 2011, they observed two men, later identified as Wilkinson and Matthew Martin Hecker, age 27, of Evergreen, Colorado, in control of an airplane that was filled with large hockey bags. The plane had landed at the Blaine airport at a time when the control tower was closed, and the airport was in an uncontrolled status. Officers met the plane on a taxiway, and when the door opened, they reportedly smelled marijuana. The plane was full of large hockey bags, later discovered to contain marijuana.
On October 4, 2011, Christensen and Skonnord were stopped by the Iowa State Patrol, at which time, police seized from their vehicle a small amount of marijuana, $79,995 in cash, documents appearing to be drug ledgers, and several cellular telephones. One of the phones contained photographs of marijuana plants, cultivated marijuana “buds,” compressed high-grade marijuana, bulk cash, and commercial equipment typically used in the cultivation of marijuana. The phone also contained several text messages consistent with messages to coordinate drug shipments. On October 11, 2011, during the execution of a search warrant on Wilkinson’s cell phone, authorities found numerous photos of cash on the dashboard of an airplane, along with text messages between Wilkinson and Christensen.
On October 27, 2011, Hecker pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy. On November 30, 2011, Wilkinson pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy.
If convicted, the defendants face a potential maximum penalty of 20 years in prison on the conspiracy charge and five years on the possession charge. All sentences will be determined by a federal district court judge. This case is the result of an investigation by the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement-Homeland Security Investigations. It is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Thomas M. Hollenhorst.
An indictment is a determination by a grand jury that there is probable cause to believe that offenses have been committed by a defendant. A defendant, of course, is presumed innocent until he or she pleads guilty or is proven guilty at trial.