Five Plead Guilty To Distributing Methamphetamine On Minnesota’s Iron Range
MINNEAPOLIS—Earlier today in federal court in Duluth, four men and one woman
pleaded guilty to distributing methamphetamine in northern Minnesota. The five co-defendants
pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to distribute 500 or more grams of methamphetamine,
entering their pleas before United States District Court Judge Richard H. Kyle. They are
Antonio Chavez Aguirre, Jr., age 30, no known address; David Michael Cook, age 38, and
Trisha Nicole Cullen, age 29, both of Hibbing; David Richard DeKing, age 55, of Carlton; and
Shad Daniel O’Neil, age 34, of Grand Rapids. They were indicted on February 14, 2012.
In their plea agreements, the defendants admitted that between the spring of 2011 and
January 26, 2012, they conspired to distribute methamphetamine, which they obtained from
On August 23, 2011, O’Neil was stopped by police in Chisholm. At the time, officers seized
approximately four grams of methamphetamine, $1,125 in cash, and some drug paraphernalia.
On November 8, 2011, during the execution of a search warrant at O’Neil’s Nashwauk
residence, officers seized a .22-caliber revolver. In addition, O’Neil admitted that he had
distributed more than five kilograms of methamphetamine and had possessed firearms in
connection to his drug-trafficking activities.
On January 3, 2012, police seized approximately one pound of methamphetamine from
Deking at the Black Bear Casino in Carlton. On January 26, 2012, in a search of Deking’s
Centuria, Wisconsin, residence, police seized a pound of methamphetamine, which was hidden
in a safe.
On November 17, 2011, police seized 8.6 grams of methamphetamine from Cullen’s
residence and $17,110 from Cullen’s safe deposit box.
On November 4, 2011, Cook was arrested, and officers found approximately 50 grams of
methamphetamine on him.
For their crimes, Aguirre, Cook, Deking and O’Neil face a potential maximum penalty of
life in prison, while Cullen faces a potential maximum penalty of 20 years. Judge Kyle will
determine their sentences at a future hearing, not yet scheduled.
This case is the result of an investigation by the U.S. 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. To learn more about the harmful effects of methamphetamine, visit