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Press Release

Final Member of Williston-based Meth Trafficking Organization "The Family” Sentenced

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

BISMARCK - U. S. Attorney Timothy Q. Purdon announced that on November 3, 2014, Brian Scott Dahl, 51, Williston, ND, was sentenced before U. S. District Judge Daniel L. Hovland to serve 17 years in prison for conspiracy to distribute a controlled substance and possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime.

In Bismarck, United States Attorney Timothy Purdon said, “The sentencing of Brian “Kodiak” Dahl brings to a close the investigation and prosecution of the violent, Williston-based methamphetamine trafficking group known as “The Family.” Federal law enforcement and the U.S. Attorney’s Office, working with our state and local partners, have dismantled this drug trafficking organization and handed out stiff federal prison sentences to its members. The citizens of the Bakken oil boom region should take heart in knowing that federal law enforcement is fighting, every day, to preserve the North Dakota way of life in this time of dramatic changes.”

On August 13, 2012, at approximately 5:43 a.m., a local resident near Culbertson, Montana, called 911 reporting that a male was at his doorstep, bloody and badly injured. Emergency personnel responded and transported the man to a medical facility for treatment. He had multiple injuries to his body, including substantial bruising to his face and right eye, cuts to his face, substantial ligature marks on his neck, several broken ribs, and a broken collar bone.

The victim stated that on August 12, 2012, he had been assaulted by individuals in Williston, N.D. He stated he was beaten with brass knuckles, cut with a razor blade, strangled with a rope or string, and tasered. The victim identified his assailants as member of a drug trafficking group known as “The Family.” The victim was bound by his hands and ankles, thrown into the trunk of an automobile that had been lined with plastic, and driven from Williston, North Dakota, to a location in Montana, where he was beaten until he was unconscious. The victim was left for dead by his assailants, but after regaining consciousness, he was able to make his way to the Culbertson residence to seek help. The beating was motivated by the fact that members of “The Family” were concerned that the victim would provide information to law enforcement about “The Family’s” illegal drug trafficking activities.

During the investigation into the activities of “The Family,” it was discovered that Brian Dahl, a/k/a “Kodiak” was part of a conspiracy that possessed with intent to distribute in excess of 500 grams of methamphetamine in the Williston area. On January 29, 2013, law enforcement officials executed a search warrant at Dahl’s residence and seized 24 firearms despite the fact that Dahl, as a previously convicted felon, was prohibited from possessing firearms. Dahl was also implicated in the assault of Defendant Mills, who was at one time assaulted by other members of “The Family.” Dahl was involved in this incident and brandished a firearm during that assault.

The following defendants have been convicted and sentenced as a result of the investigation of this kidnapping and the drug trafficking activities of “The Family”:

Jeffrey Jim “Pops” Butler, 47, convicted of kidnapping and conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine. On October 25, 2013, Butler was sentenced to serve a total of 20 years in federal prison.

Nicholas James Gordon Woodford, 24, convicted of kidnapping and conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine. On October 21, 2013, Woodford was sentenced to serve a total of 15 years in federal prison.

Tyler Michael White, 24, convicted of kidnapping and conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine. On October 25, 2013, White was sentenced to serve a total of 13 years and 9 months in federal prison.

James Dean Odeneal, 24, convicted of kidnapping. On July 19, 2013, Odeneal was sentenced to serve 12 years in federal prison.

Zachary Russell Mills, 24, convicted of kidnapping. On November 4, 2013, Mills was sentenced to serve 5 years in federal prison.

Matthew Powers, 23, convicted of conspiracy to distribute a controlled substance. On December 20, 2013, Powers was sentenced to serve 5 years in federal prison.

In addition to the 17 year imprisonment term, Judge Hovland also ordered that Dahl serve 5 years of supervised release and was ordered to pay a $200 special assessment to the Crime Victims Fund.

The case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the North Dakota Bureau of Criminal Investigation, the Northwest Narcotics Task Force, the Williston Police Department and the Yellowstone County (MT) Sheriff’s Department.

Assistant U. S. Attorneys David D. Hagler and Rick L. Volk prosecuted the case.

Updated February 4, 2015