Methamphetamine Conspiracy Case Ends With Two Pleading Guilty And Two Convicted At Trial
United States Attorney Brendan V. Johnson announced that two Sioux Falls, South Dakota, men were found guilty of drug charges as a result of a federal jury trial in Sioux Falls, and their two co-defendants were sentenced after pleading guilty.
Austin Jon Dalsted, age 20, was found guilty of conspiracy to distribute 500 grams or more of methamphetamine. The charge carries a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years in prison and a maximum of life in prison and/or a $10 million fine, a minimum of 5 years and maximum of life on supervised release, and a $100 special assessment to the Federal Crime Victims Fund.
Jeffrey Harley Strom, age 29, was convicted of the lesser included offense of distribution of methamphetamine. That charge carries a penalty of up to 20 years in prison and/or a $1 million fine, a minimum of 3 years and a maximum of life on supervised release, and a $100 special assessment to the Federal Crime Victims Fund.
Regina Renee Johnson, of Sioux Falls, and Robert Raymond Jackson, of Brandon, South Dakota, both age 43, pled guilty to their part in the conspiracy on September 12 and 13, 2013, respectively.
Both Johnson and Jackson were sentenced by U.S. District Court Judge Lawrence L. Piersol on November 25, 2013, to 210 months in custody followed by 5 years of supervised release. A sentencing date for Dalsted and Strom has not yet been set.
The four defendants were indicted by a federal grand jury on May 8, 2013 for Conspiracy to Distribute a Controlled Substance. Johnson and Jackson pled guilty in September 2013. The trial for Dalsted and Strom commenced on November 19 and concluded on November 21, 2013.
On March 27, 2013, Sioux Falls Police were called to a local motel when Regina Johnson tried to return to the room in which she had already checked out. The motel manager asked the police to check Johnson’s room. When the police checked the room, they found $87,300 cash hidden under the bed. Police located and arrested Johnson. At the time of her arrest she was with Robert Jackson in an SUV, which contained over seven pounds of methamphetamine. While the police were searching the SUV, they noticed Jeff Strom watching them and making calls on his cell phone. When questioned by the police, Strom admitted that Johnson had called him to serve as a lookout at the motel where the cash was found. The police next searched the home where Johnson, Jackson and Johnson’s son, Austin Dalsted, were living. The search found more cash and methamphetamine.
This case was investigated by the Sioux Falls Police Department, the South Dakota Division of Criminal Investigation, and the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration. Assistant U.S. Attorney John E. Haak prosecuted the case.
All defendants are in the custody of the U.S. Marshals Service.