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Press Release

Red Lake Man Sentenced To 82 Months In Federal Prison For Violent Assault

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

United States Attorney Gregory G. Brooker today announced the sentencing of RICHARD JAMES SMITH, 27, to 82 months in prison for violent assaulting an individual on the Red Lake Indian Reservation. SMITH, who pleaded guilty to one count of assault resulting in serious bodily injury, was sentenced earlier today before Chief Judge John R. Tunheim in U.S. District Court in Minneapolis, Minnesota. In reaching the final sentence of 82 months, Judge Tunheim levied an upward departure from the federal sentencing guidelines to address the extreme physical and psychological injury SMITH inflicted on the victim.

According to the defendant’s guilty plea and documents filed in court, during the afternoon hours of June 29, 2017, SMITH was at his mother's residence located within the exterior boundaries of the Red Lake Indian Reservation. The victim, an employee with the Red Lake Forestry Department, was at the residence on a work-related matter when SMITH came up behind the victim and struck him in the head with an aluminum baseball bat. As a result of the assault, the victim sustained a severe traumatic brain injury with intracranial hemorrhage and had to be hospitalized for more than three weeks.

The case was investigated by the Red Lake Department of Public Safety, Federal Bureau of Investigation, FBI Headwaters Safe Trails Task Force, and U.S. Customs and Border Protection.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Deidre Y. Aanstad prosecuted the case.


Defendant Information:                                                                                                                     


Red Lake, Minn.


  • Assault resulting in serious bodily injury, 1 count


  • 82 months in prison
  • 3 years of supervised release





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

Updated June 8, 2018

Indian Country Law and Justice
Project Safe Neighborhoods
Violent Crime