United States Attorney Brendan V. Johnson announced that two Watertown, South Dakota, men have been indicted by a federal grand jury for their involvement in a drug conspiracy that is part of Operation Black Widow.
In May of 2013, ten individuals were arrested and indicted as part of Operation Black Widow, an extensive multi-year investigation into a wide variety of alleged criminal activity, including illegal gun and drug trafficking.
William Patrick Holmes, age 42, and Todd Karl Bramer, age 46, were indicted by a federal grand jury on July 9, 2013, for conspiracy to distribute 100 kilograms or more of marijuana. They appeared before U.S. Magistrate Judge John E. Simko on July 11, 2013, and pled not guilty to the indictment.
If convicted, the two face a mandatory minimum of 5 years and a maximum of 40 years in custody. The charge is merely an accusation and both men are presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty.
The previously filed indictment that charged six individuals with conspiracy to distribute 50 grams or more of methamphetamine was superseded to add the marijuana conspiracy count. Two of the methamphetamine conspiracy defendants, Eric Allen Block and Patricio Rodriguez Pena, were also charged with Holmes and Bramer in the marijuana conspiracy.
The investigation is being led by the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms & Explosives, with assistance from the Watertown Police Department, the Codington County Sheriff, the SD Division of Criminal Investigation, and the Drug Enforcement Administration.
Both Holmes and Bramer were released on bond pending trial.