News and Press Releases

Roseau Man Sentenced for Operating a Continuing Criminal Enterprise in Operation ‘Noah’s Ark’

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 24, 2013

FARGO – First Assistant U.S. Attorney Lynn Jordheim announced that Noah Bergland of Roseau, Minn. was sentenced before U.S. District Judge Ralph R. Erickson on June 24, 2013, to charges of operating a continuing criminal enterprise and money laundering conspiracy. Bergland pleaded guilty to the charges on July 10, 2012.

Judge Erickson sentenced Bergland to 10 years’ imprisonment to be followed by three years of supervised release. Bergland was ordered to pay a $200 special assessment to the Crime Victim’s Fund and to forfeit $250,000 to the United States.

Operation Noah’s Ark was an Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) investigation that revealed an organization that brought cocaine, heroin, marijuana and ecstasy from the Twin Cities to various cities in North Dakota and Minnesota.

The areas of North Dakota where the organization distributed these drugs were Fargo, Grand Forks and Williston. The cities in Minnesota included Minneapolis, St. Paul, Alexandria, Thief River Falls and East Grand Forks. To date, there have been 30 defendants charged as part of this investigation on drug conspiracy and money laundering charges. Additional defendants that have been sentenced in this case include:

  Brian Warren Briggs - Grand Forks, ND – Conspiracy to Distribute Controlled Substances and Money Laundering Conspiracy – 180 months (15 years)
   
  Anthony Ancona – Albuquerque, NM - Conspiracy to Distribute Controlled Substances – 120 months (10 years)
   
  Nicholas William Michael – Grand Forks, ND - Conspiracy to Distribute Controlled Substances – 96 months (8 years)
   
  Jacob Brian Skadsem – Fargo, ND - Conspiracy to Distribute Controlled Substances and Money Laundering Conspiracy – 74 months (6 years, 2 months)
   
  Vary Rattanasithy – Blaine, MN – Conspiracy to Distribute Controlled Substances and Money Laundering Conspiracy– 72 months (6 years)
   
  Andrew Michael Luehring – Fargo, ND - Conspiracy to Distribute Controlled Substances – 70 months (5 years, 10 months)
   
  Riley Kevin Wald – Fargo, ND – Conspiracy to Distribute Controlled Substances - 60 months
   
  Andrew Frank Przekwas – Roseau, MN - Conspiracy to Distribute Controlled Substances and Money Laundering Conspiracy – 48 months (4 years)
   
  Peter Philip Basting – Grand Forks, ND - Conspiracy to Distribute Controlled Substances – 48 months (4 years)
   
  Beau Ed Vasas – Spooner, WI - Conspiracy to Distribute Controlled Substances – 46 months (3 years, 8 months)
   
  Rachel Renee Dahl – Roseau, MN - Conspiracy to Distribute Controlled Substances – 36 months (3 years)
   
  Bryan Keith Cameron – Detroit Lakes, MN - Conspiracy to Distribute Controlled Substances and Money Laundering Conspiracy– 30 months (2 years, 6 months)
   
  James Robert Nord – Fargo, ND - Conspiracy to Distribute Controlled Substances (30 months (2 years, 6 months)
   
  Joel Garcia – Minneapolis, MN - Conspiracy to Distribute Controlled Substances – 30 months (2 years, 6 months)
   
  Chad Thomas Whitney – Grand Forks, ND - Conspiracy to Distribute Controlled Substances – 30 months (2 years, 6 months)
   
  Tony Joe Galle – East Grand Forks, MN - Conspiracy to Distribute Controlled
Substances – 27 months (2 years, 6 months)
   
  Kevin Ryan Magnuson – Fargo, ND - Conspiracy to Distribute Controlled Substances – 20 months (1 year, 8 months)
   
  Jamie Beth Johnston – Robbinsdale, MN - Conspiracy to Distribute Controlled Substances – 18 months (1 year, 6 months)
   
  Christopher Lee Webb – Burnsville, MN - Conspiracy to Distribute Controlled Substances – 15 months (1 year, 3 months)
   
  Alexandra Evelius – Minneapolis, MN – Conspiracy to Distribute Controlled Substances – 6 months and supervised release for 3 years
   
  Andrew Richard Block – Grand Forks, ND - Conspiracy to Distribute Controlled Substances – 6 months and 3 years of supervised probation
   
  Tara Lynn Lawrence – Minneapolis, MN – Conspiracy to Distribute Controlled Substances – 12 months electronic home monitoring with 3 years of supervised probation
   
  Clinton James Rooney – St. Paul, MN - Conspiracy to Distribute Controlled Substances – supervised probation for 3 years
   
  Timothy Michael Ploen – Edina, MN - Conspiracy to Distribute Controlled Substances – 6 months half-way house and supervised probation for 3 years
   
  Grant Kristjan Thorfinnson – Grand Forks, ND - Conspiracy to Distribute Controlled Substances – supervised probation for 2 years
   
  Additional defendants that have pleaded guilty for their role in the drug conspiracy and await sentencing are:
   
  Adam Wayne Nehk – Moorhead, MN – sentencing scheduled for July 18, 2013
   
  Showin Keon Davis – Golden Valley, MN – sentencing scheduled for July 29, 2013
   
  Markie Ann Plutowski – Grand Forks, MN – sentencing scheduled for July 29, 2013
   
  Justin Michael Aaberg – Alexandria, MN – sentencing scheduled for September 23, 2013

Operation Noah’s Ark was an investigation lead by Homeland Security Investigations (HIS), Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigation (IRS-CI), North Dakota Bureau of Criminal Investigations and the Grand Forks Police Department. Assisting agencies are the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) – Fargo Resident Office, Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension, and North Dakota Parole and Probation.

"This investigation is a terrific example of how federal, state and local law enforcement were able to work closely together to successfully dismantle a major narcotics smuggling organization," said Michael Feinberg, special agent in charge of HSI St. Paul, which covers North Dakota. "HSI will continue to utilize its broad authorities to target those individuals that pose direct threats to our communities."

“The role of Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation in narcotics investigations is to follow the money so we can financially disrupt and dismantle major drug trafficking organizations such as Operation Noah’s Ark. Today's sentencing of Noah Bergland and previously sentenced co-conspirators again emphasizes that the IRS-CI and the U.S. Attorney’s office will continue their aggressive pursuit of those who launder illegal drug profits,” said Kelly R. Jackson, IRS-CI, Special Agent in Charge, St. Paul Field Office. “IRS-CI is committed to unraveling complex financial transactions and money laundering schemes where individuals attempt to conceal the true source of their money.”

Assistant U.S. Attorney Chris Myers prosecuted the cases.

 

 

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