Two More Individuals Indicted in “Operation Denial”
FARGO - U. S. Attorney Christopher C. Myers announced that on Dec. 10, 2015, Ronnie Lee Helms 30, Acworth, Georgia, and Braden James Foley 28, Olympia Wash., have been indicted in the District of North Dakota, charging them with conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute and distribution of a controlled substance and controlled substance analogues resulting in serious bodily injury and death. Both defendants have been arrested and detained, and are being transported to North Dakota to face the Indictment.
The arrests come 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, which 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 of 18-year-old Bailey Henke in Grand Forks.
To date, a total of 12 defendants have been indicted in connection with this investigation. The four related Indictments in this case have identified and alleged 12 victims of the distribution of controlled or analogue controlled substances – of those 12, four victims died and eight were overdoses resulting in serious bodily injury. “This remains a very active national and international investigation,” stated U.S. Attorney Myers. “Our multi-national investigative team is committed to identifying the full scope of harm caused by this international conspiracy. Those individuals responsible, whether in the United States or other countries, will be brought to North Dakota to face charges.”
This case is being investigated by the Department of Homeland Security - Homeland Security Investigations, Drug Enforcement Administration, United States Postal Inspection Service, Grand Forks Narcotics Task Force, Royal Canadian Mounted Police, Portland Oregon Police Bureau – Drugs and Vice Division, Portland HIDTA Interdiction Task Force, Oregon State Police, and the Grand Forks Police Department.
U. S. Attorney Christopher C. Myers, AUSA Scott Schneider, and SAUSA Scott Kerin are prosecuting the cases.
An Indictment is merely an accusation, and the defendant is presumed innocent unless proven guilty.