United States Attorney Brendan V. Johnson announced that Jo Ann White Buffalo, age 48, of White River, South Dakota, appeared before U.S. District Judge Roberto A. Lange on August 12, 2013, and pled guilty to a Superseding Information that charged her with conspiracy to distribute between 50 and 100 kilograms of marijuana.
Previously, as part of this same narcotics trafficking conspiracy, Phillip Stands, age 50, of Rosebud, Alfred Eagle Deer, Jr., a/k/a Alfred Eagle Deer, age 31, of Rosebud, and Joe Buck Colombe, age 34, of Mission, pled guilty to the same charge.
The maximum penalty upon conviction for White Buffalo and Eagle Deer is 20 years in custody, a $1,000,000 fine, or both; at least 3 years of supervised release; and a $100 assessment to the Federal Crime Victims Fund. The maximum penalty upon conviction for Colombe is 30 years in custody, a $2,000,000 fine, or both; at least 6 years of supervised release; and a $100 assessment to the Federal Crime Victims Fund.
Between October 2008 and August 2012, Abraham Romero-Perez obtained between 60 and 80 kilograms (132.28 to 176.37 pounds) of marijuana that had been transported into South Dakota. Romero-Perez then sold or “fronted” (a term for loaning controlled substance to an individual with the intent that the supplier will be paid for the substance after it has been sold) pound quantities of marijuana to other persons, including Gloria Barrera, Andrea Barrera, Colombe, and White Buffalo, knowing that they intended to further distribute the marijuana in South Dakota. Stands, and later Eagle Deer, assisted Gloria Barrera in redistributing the marijuana by helping her break pound quantities of marijuana into smaller quantities, and distributing some of it to marijuana users. Eagle Deer was fronted quantities of marijuana ranging from one ounce and upwards.
The investigation was conducted by the Northern Plains Safe Trails Drug Enforcement Task Force. The cases are being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Jay Miller.
Presentence investigations were ordered, and sentencing dates were set for August 19, 2013, for Eagle Deer; October 7, 2013, for Colombe; and October 21, 2013, for White Buffalo. Stands was previously sentenced on August 12, 2013.
White Buffalo, Colombe, and Eagle Deer were released on bond pending sentencing.