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Justice News

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Friday, July 1, 2016

Opiate Enforcement Strategy Pays Dividends in F-M Area

FARGO - US Attorney Christopher C. Myers announced that on May 12, 2016, approximately 100 local, state, and federal law enforcement agents and prosecutors met in Fargo to discuss investigative and prosecutorial strategies to combat opiate traffickers with an emphasis on fentanyl or analogues of fentanyl. The goal was to fashion an enforcement strategy to reduce the death and injury from opiates that have been plaguing the area.

Since that meeting, all of the law enforcement in the Fargo-Moorhead area joined efforts with the United States Attorney’s Office for the District of North Dakota to indict the following individuals:

  • Brandon Beyer, 20, Conspiracy to Distribute and Distribute a Controlled Substance Analogue

  • Steven Jay Maynard Hoffman, 21, Distribution of a Controlled Substance Analogue Resulting in Serious Bodily Injury

  • Chase Fliginger, 20, Conspiracy to Distribute a Controlled Substance Analogue

  • Naomi Danielson, 21, Distribution of a Controlled Substance Analogue Resulting in Serious Bodily Injury

  • Christian Harris, 19, Conspiracy to Distribute a Controlled Substance Analogue

  • Gregory Alan Krutsinger, 38, Conspiracy to Possess with Intent to Distribute and Distribute a Controlled Substance Resulting in Serious Bodily Injury

  • Tyrone Wilburn, 43, Conspiracy to Possess with Intent to Distribute and Distribute a Controlled Substance and a Controlled Substance Analogue Resulting in Serious Bodily Injury

  • Brandon Joseph Jacobs, 30, a/k/a B.J. Simonson, Conspiracy to Possess with Intent to Distribute and Distribute a Controlled Substance Resulting in Serious Bodily Injury    

  • John Michael Iten, 23, a/k/a Jack Iten, Conspiracy to Possess with Intent to Distribute and Distribute a Controlled Substance Resulting in Serious Bodily Injury 

 

USA Myers stated, “The law enforcement response from all of our partners has been incredible.  Every agency in the Fargo-Moorhead area helped in this enforcement effort.”

The “Eyes Wide Open” community forum that was held in West Fargo on May 5, 2016, brought to light the fact that the opiate crisis has risen to an epidemic level in the Red River Valley.  Since January, there have been over 10 deaths and over 50 hospitalizations attributed to opiates - mostly impacting young people.

To combat this complex problem, there must be a multi-faceted response from not just law enforcement, but the entire community. This includes, but is not limited to, parents, healthcare providers, educators, treatment experts, and faith-based organizations. Law enforcement cannot fight this alone; however, law enforcement will continue to work tirelessly to identify, target, and dismantle opiate drug trafficking organizations.

USA Myers continued, “While this is some measure of success, we do not intend to stop there. Opiate-based drugs still continue to plague our community and are devastating lives.  We will continue our aggressive approach on the enforcement side of the equation but will also continue working with our community partners to continue the dialogue about how best to find a multi-faceted solution to this opiate crisis. Working together, we can make a difference.” As the investigation continues there may be more defendants charged.

The next community forum, “Eyes Wide Open Phase II” will be held at the Fargo Theatre on July 20, 2016. The third community forum, “Arms Wide Open,” will be scheduled in the fall and will focus on where individuals and families can turn for help. This forum will also continue the dialogue on the need for systemic changes to help families struggling with addiction.

The United States Attorney’s Office for the District of North Dakota will also be hosting an “Eyes Wide Open” community forum in Bismarck on July 28, 2016, at the Heritage Center, starting at 6:00 p.m.  The purpose of this forum will be to highlight awareness regarding the issues with opiates that are being faced in the Bismarck-Mandan area.

An Indictment is merely an accusation and not evidence of guilt.  All defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.

Topic(s): 
Drug Trafficking
Prescription Drugs
Component(s): 
Updated July 1, 2016