News and Press Releases

Three Indicted for Conspiracy to Distribute Marijuana

July 24, 2012
Contact: Mark E. Salter
Assistant United States Attorney

US Attorney Brendan V. Johnson announced that three individuals were indicted by a federal grand jury for Conspiracy to Distribute Marijuana.

Samuel Joseph Pfeifle, age 25, of Garberville, California; Sean Michael McFarland, age 31,of Petrolia, California; and Brandon Russell Newell, age 28, of Sioux Falls, South Dakota, were indicted by a federal grand jury on July 10, 2012, for Conspiracy to Distribute Marijuana. Newell appeared before US Magistrate Judge John E. Simko on July 18, 2012, and pled not guilty to the indictment.

Pfeifle and McFarland each made appearances before a United States Magistrate Judge in the Northern District of California on July 19, 2012. Both are due back in the same court for a detention hearing on July 24, 2012.

The maximum penalty upon conviction is 40 years of imprisonment and a fine of up to $5,000,000. The charge is merely an accusation, and Pfeifle, McFarland and Newell are presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty.

The investigation is being conducted by Homeland Security Investigations; the South Dakota Division of Criminal Investigation; Sioux Falls Area Drug Task Force; Humboldt County, California, Sheriff's Office; Arcata, California, Police Department; Eureka, California, Police Department; Internal Revenue Service CI; and the United States Marshal's Service. Assistant US Attorney Connie Larson is prosecuting the case. Newell was released on bond pending trial. A jury trial date has been set for September 25, 2012.




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