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Press Release

Red Lake Felon Sentenced to Over Five Years in Prison for Firearm Possession, Fentanyl Distribution

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, District of Minnesota

DULUTH, Minn. – A Red Lake man has been sentenced to 63 months in prison, followed by four years of supervised release, for possessing a firearm as a felon and possession with the intent to distribute fentanyl, announced U.S. Attorney Andrew M. Luger.

According to court documents, on June 22, 2022, after Matt Dion Sayers, 47, had escaped from Red Lake Police custody, agents began investigating Sayers for suspected ongoing drug distribution from a motel in Bemidji. Agents observed Sayers arrive and park his vehicle at the motel, and then enter and exit a silver van parked nearby. Law enforcement detained Sayers moments after he left the van for suspicion of controlled substance sales and driving without a valid driver's license. Sayers told agents that he was staying at a room inside the motel, for which agents had already obtained a search warrant. During a search, agents found approximately 46 grams of fentanyl powder in Sayers’ pants pocket. During a search of Sayers’ Chevy Impala, law enforcement located approximately $11,000 in cash, a small safe containing various packaged controlled substances (including but not limited to multiple additional fentanyl and methamphetamine in small baggies). Law enforcement also located a loaded UZI Pro Brand 9 x 19 mm caliber semi-automatic pistol, which was found on the front driver's side floorboard.

Sayers pleaded guilty on December 13, 2022, to one count of possessing a firearm as a felon and one count of possession with the intent to distribute fentanyl. He was sentenced on April 16, 2023, before U.S. District Judge John R. Tunheim.

This case is the result of an investigation conducted by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the FBI Headwaters Safe Trails Task Force, the Paul Bunyan Drug Task Force, the Beltrami County Sheriff’s Office, and the Red Lake Tribal Police Department.

Assistant U.S. Attorneys Albania Concepcion and Allen A. Slaughter prosecuted the case.

Updated April 18, 2023

Violent Crime
Indian Country Law and Justice
Drug Trafficking
Firearms Offenses