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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
District of North Dakota

Thursday, October 16, 2014

“Operation Stolen Youth” Receives National Award

Washington DC – Thomas W. Padden, Director, Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Forces (OCDETF), Department of Justice, announced that the District of North Dakota was the recipient of the 2014 OCDETF National Award for Outstanding Investigation for Creative Response to Emerging Public Safety Threat for the phenomenal multi-agency investigative work during “Operation Stolen Youth”. This prestigious national award most exemplifies the mission and spirit of the OCDETF Program and reflects great credit upon the District of North Dakota and those North Dakota law enforcement agencies involved in the Operation Stolen Youth investigation.

In Bismarck, Timothy Q. Purdon, US Attorney, said "This national award, the first one ever awarded to agents, prosecutors, and staff in North Dakota, is well deserved recognition on a national scale for a law enforcement team whose swift actions in response to synthetic drug overdose deaths in Grand Forks and East Grand Forks kept the public safe, dismantled the organization that was trafficking this poison, and delivered some measure of Justice to the families of the young men who lost their lives as a result of taking synthetic drugs." Purdon added, “All illegal drugs are dangerous and synthetic analogue substance are no different. You risk your life when you ingest them."

In Fargo, Christopher C. Myers, First Assistant US Attorney, said “We have worked numerous large and successful drug cases in the District of North Dakota but the swift, team-based response in this case was remarkable given that the substances ingested were new and deadly analogue controlled substances. Despite this challenge, this team identified, targeted and dismantled a nationwide trafficking organization within sixty days of the first overdose. Such a feat is unheard of in the investigation of large scale drug trafficking organizations. The performance of this particular team in this case was exemplary and undoubtedly saved lives.”

“Operation Stolen Youth” investigation was initiated in June of 2012, after two teenagers died from an overdose of deadly analogue controlled substances in the Grand Forks area. The investigation revealed that several young adults in the Grand Forks area were involved in the distribution of various analogue substances that were acquired from an internet based company near Houston, Texas named Motion Resources, which was importing these substances from overseas and distributing them across the United States. Charles William Carlton, 29, Katy, Texas, was identified as the leader and was sentenced to serve 20 years and six months in prison for his role in the conspiracy. Carlton was also ordered to forfeit $385,000 in proceeds related to Motion Resources. Additionally, 14 other defendants were convicted in the case. The sentences for the other defendants ranged from probation to 20 years imprisonment.

Recognized for their contribution to this successful investigation were:

Terrence Boos Drug Enforcement Administration

Lori Daly United States Attorney's Office

Brent Druery Homeland Security Investigations

Steve Gilpin North Dakota Bureau of Criminal Investigation

Nathan Glur Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigation

Jeremy Grube Homeland Security Investigations

Adam Henney United States Postal Inspection Service

Julie Hough United States Attorney's Office

Tom Irvin United States Postal Inspection Service

Mike Jennings Grand Forks Police Department

Charlene Keller North Dakota State Laboratory

Kenneth Kulick Food and Drug Administration

Joel Lloyd Grand Forks Sheriff's Office

Christopher C. Myers United States Attorney's Office

Cassandra Prioleau Drug Enforcement Administration

Chelsea Smith United States Attorney's Office

Debra Wilson United States Attorney's Office

Updated February 4, 2015