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Justice News

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

Monday, April 25, 2016

Violent Grand Forks Drug Trafficker Sentenced to Life in Prison

FARGO – U. S. Attorney Christopher C. Myers announced that on April 22, 2016, José Luis Delacruz, 38, a/k/a Joe Delacruz, from Grand Forks, North Dakota, was sentenced before U. S. District Judge Ralph R. Erickson to serve a life sentence in prison for Conspiracy to Possess with Intent to Distribute and Distribution of Methamphetamine, as well as a consecutive seven-year sentence for Brandishing a Firearm During the Commission of Drug Trafficking.

U.S. Attorney Myers stated “The Grand Forks Police Department, Homeland Security Investigations, and the Grand Forks Narcotics Task Force worked tirelessly to dismantle this drug organization and stop the violent conduct by Mr. Delacruz.  This sentence not only ensures public safety but also sends the message to other drug traffickers that if they choose to do business in North Dakota, the collective response by law enforcement will be swift and prosecution certain.” 

North Dakota Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem said “Once again, a concerted effort by local, state and federal agencies working together has been successful in removing a dangerous offender from the streets, for life.  North Dakota will continue to focus efforts and law enforcement resources on dismantling drug trafficking organizations.  It is rewarding to see that we are making progress in our efforts.”

During the course of the conspiracy, co-conspirators received methamphetamine from Delacruz, which was sold primarily in the Grand Forks area.  Overall, the conspiracy moved in excess of 500 grams of a mixture containing methamphetamine.

Four other members of the conspiracy have already been sentenced.

  • Patrick James Peltier: 5 years federal prison;

  • Anthony James Farrell: 4 years federal prison’

  • Kimberly Ann Ratliff: 10 years federal prison; and

  • Brian Joseph McMahan: 2 years and 6 months federal prison.

Delacruz was also convicted for his role of pistol-whipping a co-conspirator in Grand Forks who he believed was cooperating with law enforcement.

This case was investigated by Homeland Security Investigations, the Grand Forks Narcotics Task Force, the Grand Forks Police Department and North Dakota Bureau of Criminal Investigation.

U. S. Attorney Christopher C. Myers, Assistant U. S. Attorney Megan A. Healy, and Special Assistant U. S. Attorney Jeremy Ensrud prosecuted the case.

Drug Trafficking
Violent Crime
Updated April 25, 2016