News and Press Releases

News and Press Releases

Bloomington man sentenced to life in federal prison for conspiring to distribute controlled substances

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 25, 2013


MINNEAPOLIS— Earlier today in federal court, Eric Michelle Hunter, age 41, of Bloomington, was sentenced to life in federal prison for conspiring to distribute heroin, cocaine, and other controlled substances. United States District Court Judge Ann D. Montgomery specifically ordered Hunter to serve concurrent life sentences for conspiracy to distribute controlled substances and possession with intent to distribute heroin and BZP and a consecutive life sentence for aiding and abetting the carrying and using of a machine gun during and in relation to a drug trafficking crime, as well as a consecutive five-year sentence for aiding and abetting the carrying and using of a handgun during and in relation to a drug trafficking crime.

He was also ordered to serve concurrent 240-month sentences for witness tampering, being a felon in possession of a firearm, and aiding and abetting the distribution of controlled substances. Because the federal criminal justice system does not use parole, Hunter will remain in federal prison for the rest of his life.

Following the sentencing, U.S. Attorney B. Todd Jones said, “The sentence imposed in this case reflects both the culpability of this defendant and our continuing effort to protect our community from the most violent armed drug dealers. We will remain steadfast in our focus on the ‘worst of the worst’ when it comes to drug and gun prosecutions.”

Hunter was indicted on December 10, 2012, and convicted on February 22, 2013, following a jury trial. The evidence presented at that trial proved that from September 14, 2011, through July 24, 2012, Hunter conspired with others to distribute controlled substances, primarily heroin. On five occasions, Hunter aided and abetted the distribution of controlled substances, including heroin and benzylpiperazine, commonly known as BZP. He also conspired to distribute numerous other controlled substances, including two designer drugs with the street names “Foxy” and “Ivory Wave.”

Moreover, on May 2, 2012, Hunter aided and abetted the using and carrying of a .357-caliber, semi-automatic pistol, and on May 22, 2012, he aided and abetted using and carrying an AA Arms, nine-millimeter machine gun. Because Hunter is a convicted felon, he is prohibited under federal law from possessing firearms at any time. He was convicted in Mississippi of grand larceny in 1990, possession of cocaine in 1994, felon in possession of a deadly weapon in 1994, and intimidation and assault on a law enforcement officer in 1995. In addition, he was convicted in federal court in the District of Minnesota in 1998 for possession with intent to distribute crack cocaine.

On March 26, 2013, co-defendant Rikki Lee Gilow, age 20, also of Bloomington, was sentenced to 60 months on one count of conspiracy. In her plea agreement, Gilow admitted conspiring with Hunter and Jerry Anthony Harvey, age 39, of Minneapolis, to distribute controlled substances. In addition, Gilow admitted assisting Hunter in unknowingly selling two firearms to a government agent in connection with two separate drug transactions.

On April 9, 2013, Harvey pleaded guilty to one count of aiding and abetting the distribution of heroin. No sentencing date has yet been scheduled for Harvey.

This case was the result of an investigation by the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and the Dakota County Drug Task Force. It was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Thomas M. Hollenhorst and Julie E. Allyn.

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