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Press Release

Moorhead Man and Two Co-defendants Sentenced in Methamphetamine Conspiracy

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

FARGO - U.S. Attorney Timothy Q. Purdon announced that on Feb. 12, 2014, Juan Cerna, 26, Moorhead Minn., was sentenced before U.S. District Judge Ralph R Erickson, to 18 ½ years for conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute and distribution of a controlled substance.

The conspiracy involved the transportation of kilogram quantities of methamphetamine from Texas that were distributed in the Fargo-Moorhead area. Co-conspirators also obtained large quantities of marijuana from the Minneapolis area and distributed throughout the local area.

Judge Erickson also sentenced two other members of the Cerna organization for their involvement in the conspiracy. Steven Schmidt, 35, Fargo N.D., was sentenced to five years in the conspiracy, and
Brandon Elsenpeter, 26, Fargo N.D. was sentenced to three years’ probation for his involvement. All three men were ordered to pay $100 special assessment to the Crime Victims Fund in addition to their sentence. Juan’s brother, David Cerna Jr., pleaded guilty during trial and will be sentenced on April 14, at 10:00 a.m. U.S. District Court.

The case was investigated by Homeland Security Investigations, Drug Enforcement Administration, North Dakota Bureau of Criminal Investigations, Fargo and Moorhead Police Departments, and Cass County Drug Task Force.

First Assistant U.S. Attorney Chris Myers and Assistant U.S. Attorney Brett Shasky prosecuted the cases.

Updated January 29, 2015