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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
District of Minnesota

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Monday, February 11, 2019

Activities Of The U.S. Attorney’s Office During The Lapse In Appropriations

Throughout the recent 35-day lapse in appropriations, press releases for the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Minnesota were very limited as required by Department of Justice rules. However, during any lapse in Congressional appropriations, the Department of Justice’s essential public safety and national security missions continue unabated. As a result, the U.S. Attorney’s Office and federal investigative agencies continued to work full-time alongside their state, local, and tribal partners on all criminal cases and prosecutions. Highlighted below are convictions and sentencings that occurred between December 22, 2018 and January 25, 2019.

On January 2, 2019, MICHAEL SCOTT HANUMAN, 27, pleaded guilty before Judge Ann D. Montgomery in U.S. District Court in Minneapolis, Minnesota, to one count of possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine and one count of possessing a firearm in furtherance of the drug-trafficking crime. HANUMAN is scheduled to be sentenced on May 14, 2019. This case is the result of an investigation conducted by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the Dakota County Sheriff’s Office, and the Dakota County Drug Task Force. Assistant U.S. Attorney Benjamin Bejar is prosecuting the case.

On January 8, 2019, PRESLEY AARON PELTIER, 22, pleaded guilty to stealing four firearms from a federally licensed firearms dealer. PELTIER entered his guilty plea before Senior Judge Michael J. Davis in U.S. District Court in Minneapolis, Minnesota. This case is the result of an investigation conducted by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and the Lakeville Police Department. Assistant U.S. Attorney Benjamin Bejar is prosecuting the case.

On January 14, 2019, AVIEL LI GOODMAN, 63, was sentenced to 87 months in prison for receipt of child pornography. GOODMAN, a St. Paul psychiatrist, pleaded guilty to one count of receipt of child pornography on July 20, 2018. This case was the result of an investigation conducted by the FBI. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Katharine T. Buzicky and Carol M. Kayser prosecuted the case.

On January 15, 2019, NOEL DEBRA HALL, 41, was sentenced to 60 months in prison for possession with the intent to distribute heroin and fentanyl. HALL pleaded guilty on September 13, 2018, to a one-count felony information. This case was investigated by the Drug Enforcement Administration and prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Surya Saxena.

On January 16, 2019, STEVEN MITCHELL GANT, 38, pleaded guilty to conspiring to distribute heroin on the White Earth Indian Reservation. GANT entered his guilty plea before Senior Judge Michael J. Davis in U.S. District Court in Minneapolis, Minnesota. This case is the result of an investigation conducted by the FBI Headwaters Safe Trails Task Force, the West Central Minnesota Drug & Violent Crimes Task Force, the White Earth Police Department, and the Becker County Sheriff’s Office. Assistant U.S. Attorney Deidre Y. Aanstad is prosecuting the case.

On January 16, 2019, KELVIN BAEZ, 34, was found guilty of methamphetamine and firearms violations following a jury trial before Judge Ann D. Montgomery in U.S. District Court in Minneapolis, Minnesota. BAEZ is scheduled to be sentenced on May 14, 2019. This case is the result of an investigation conducted by the Drug Enforcement Administration. Assistant U.S. Attorney David P. Steinkamp is prosecuting the case.

On January 17, 2019, PHILLIP MARK REINHART, 38, pleaded guilty to production and attempted production of child pornography. REINHART entered his guilty plea before Judge Wilhelmina M. Wright in U.S. District Court in St. Paul, Minnesota. A sentencing hearing is scheduled for June 6, 2019. This case is the result of an investigation conducted by the FBI and the Nicollet County Sheriff's Office. Assistant U.S. Attorney Manda M. Sertich is prosecuting the case.

On January 22, 2019, AMOS KIPROP KOECH, 44, was convicted by a federal jury for sex trafficking a 15-year-old minor. KOECH’S codefendant, ANDRE MATHIS, JR., 33, pleaded guilty on January 10, 2019, to one count of sex trafficking of a minor. This case is the result of an investigation conducted by the FBI and the Duluth Police Department. Assistant U.S. Attorney Laura M. Provinzino is prosecuting the case with Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Jonathan D. Holets. 

On January 22, 2019, DAKOTA JAMES LAFAVE, 29, pleaded guilty to assault with a dangerous weapon in aid of racketeering, witness retaliation, and discharge of a firearm in furtherance of a crime of violence. LAFAVE entered his guilty plea before Chief Judge John R. Tunheim in U.S. District Court in Minneapolis, Minnesota. This case is the result of an investigation conducted by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the Minneapolis Police Department, the Drug Enforcement Administration, the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension, the Mille Lacs Tribal Police Department, and the Minnesota Department of Corrections. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Andrew R. Winter and Bradley Endicott are prosecuting the case.

On January 23, 2019, JOSE MANUEL ORDONEZ, JR., 47, was sentenced to 120 months in prison for his role in a $150 million international Ponzi scheme. ORDONEZ pleaded guilty on February 13, 2018, to one count of conspiracy to commit mail fraud. This case was the result of an investigation conducted by the FBI, United States Postal Inspection Service, and the Minnesota Commerce Fraud Bureau. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Kimberly A. Svendsen and Joseph H. Thompson are prosecuting the case.

On January 23, 2019, two defendants in separate cases, DARVELL DEVONTRE EDWARDS, 27, and CAMERON DAVON DURAND, 25, each pleaded guilty to one count of being a felon in possession of a firearm. EDWARDS and DURAND entered their guilty pleas before Judge Eric C. Tostrud in U.S. District Court in Saint Paul, Minnesota. These cases are thedid  result of an investigation conducted by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and the Saint Paul Police Department. They are being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Benjamin Bejar and Thomas Calhoun-Lopez.

On January 24, 2019, RASHAD YASIN DAVIS, 27, pleaded guilty to one count of criminal damage to property on the Bois Forte Indian Reservation. DAVIS entered his guilty plea before Judge Nancy E. Brasel in U.S. District Court in Saint Paul, Minnesota. This case was the result of an investigation conducted by the FBI and the Bois Forte Police Department, with assistance from the St. Louis County Sheriff’s Office and the Breitung Police Department. Assistant U.S. Attorney Deidre Y. Aanstad is prosecuting the case.

On January 25, 2019, ROGER ERICK SPLETTSTOESZER, 54, was sentenced to 210 months in prison for distribution, receipt, and possession of child pornography. SPLETTSTOESZER was found guilty on April 19, 2018, following a four-day jury trial. This case was investigated by the FBI and prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Sarah E. Hudleston and Miranda E. Dugi.

“I am honored to lead an office comprised of public servants who are dedicated to the shared mission of pursuing justice,” said United States Attorney Erica H. MacDonald. “I want to thank each and every one of these individuals for their selfless and unwavering service during the course of the partial government shutdown.”

 

 

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United States Attorney’s Office, District of Minnesota: (612) 664-5600

 

 

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Updated February 11, 2019