Acting United States Attorney Gregory G. Brooker today announced the sentencing of ANTONIO JERMAINE SNELL, a/k/a “Fatty” or “Lord,” 36, for leading a heroin distribution conspiracy based in southern Minnesota that resulted in two overdose deaths. ANTONIO SNELL, who was charged along with four additional co-defendants on June 14, 2016, pleaded guilty to Count 1 of the indictment. ANTONIO SNELL was sentenced on August 9, 2017, before Senior Judge Michael J. Davis in United States District Court in Minneapolis, Minn. His half-brother, MELVIN HUNTER, was sentenced on August 10, 2017. Both defendants were sentenced to 168 months in prison.
“These defendants brought large amounts of heroin from Chicago to southern Minnesota and sold it for $200 a gram,” said Assistant U.S. Attorney Jeffrey Paulsen. “Even after two of their customers died from heroin overdoses, the defendants continued dealing these dangerous drugs. The imposed sentences appropriately reflect the defendants’ callous disregard for human life.”
According to the defendants’ guilty pleas and documents filed in court, from January 2013 through June 2016, ANTONIO SNELL, the leader of the organization, and co-defendants RANDLE SNELL, MELVIN HUNTER, DARRELL SMITH, and ERNEST THOMAS, ran a heroin distribution conspiracy in and around the Rochester, Minnesota area. Members of the conspiracy recruited other individuals to act as sub-distributers or runners and used their houses to process and store drugs. In addition to the organization’s widespread drug dealing activity, heroin sold by the conspiracy was linked to two heroin overdose deaths in Austin, Minnesota. According to testimony at a sentencing hearing held on July 18, 2017, HUNTER supplied the heroin that killed Tyler Burkey, 23, on December 18, 2015, and Jordan Jensen, 20, on March 27, 2016. In sentencing HUNTER, Judge Michael Davis stated, “you were selling poison . . . and it caused death.”
This case is the result of an investigation conducted by the Drug Enforcement Administration, the Rochester Police Department, the Austin Police Department, and the Southeast MN Violent Crimes Enforcement Team.
This case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Jeffrey S. Paulsen.
ANTONIO JERMAINE SNELL, a/k/a “Fatty” or “Lord,” 36
Albert Lea, Minn.
168 months in prison
RANDLE SNELL, a/k/a “Pee Wee,” 27
92 months in prison
MELVIN HUNTER, a/k/a “Mello,” 23
168 months in prison
DARRELL LENARDO SMITH, a/k/a “Duke,” 44
84 months in prison
ERNEST JERELLE THOMAS, a/k/a “Rel Rel,” 38
77 months in prison
Five years of supervised release
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United States Attorney’s Office, District of Minnesota: (612) 664-5600