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Press Release

North Dakota Investigation Receives DEA Administrator’s Award

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

FARGO - U.S. Attorney Christopher C. Myers announced that on July 18, 2018, Acting DEA Administrator Uttam Dhillon recognized a team of investigators and prosecutors with the "Administrator’s Award for Outstanding Group Achievement" at a ceremony in Washington, D.C. today for their teamwork in investigating a trans-national opiate trafficking organization. This is the first time an investigation in North Dakota has received this prestigious honor.

This case came to the attention of law enforcement as part of "Operation Denial," an Organized Crime and Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) investigation into the international trafficking of fentanyl and other lethal drugs, and was significantly aided by the national and international coordination led by the multi-agency Special Operations Division (S.O.D.) near Washington D.C. as part of "Operation Deadly Merchant." The investigation started in North Dakota on January 3, 2015, with the overdose death in

Grand Forks of 18-year-old Bailey Henke. To date, thirty-two (32) defendants have been charged as a result of the investigation.

This case was investigated by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations; U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration; U.S. Postal Inspection Service; Grand Forks Narcotics Task Force; Royal Canadian Mounted Police; Portland, Oregon, Police Bureau – Drugs and Vice Division; IRS-Criminal Investigations Division; Portland HIDTA Interdiction Task Force; Oregon State Police and the Grand Forks Police Department. The principal mission of the OCDETF program is to identify, disrupt, and dismantle the most serious drug trafficking organizations and those primarily responsible for the nation’s illegal drug supply.

U.S. Attorney Christopher C. Myers, Assistant U.S. Attorney Scott Kerin for the District of Oregon, and Trial Attorney Adrienne Rose of the Criminal Division’s Narcotic & Dangerous Drug Section are prosecuting the cases.

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Updated July 20, 2018