Sioux Falls Woman Sentenced for Her Role in Fentanyl and Meth Conspiracy, While Co-Conspirators Await Sentencing
SIOUX FALLS - United States Attorney Alison J. Ramsdell announced today that U.S. District Judge Karen E. Schreier has sentenced a Kern Valley, California, man convicted of Conspiracy to Distribute a Controlled Substance and Conspiracy to Launder Monetary Instruments. The sentencing took place on November 13, 2023.
Terry Morris, Jr., age 41, was sentenced on a Conspiracy to Distribute a Controlled Substance charge to 33 years and four months in federal prison, followed by five years of supervised release. He was then sentenced on the Conspiracy to Launder Monetary Instruments charge to 22 years in federal prison. Both sentences will run concurrently with one another but consecutive to his sentence in California. He was also ordered to pay a $200 special assessment to the Federal Crime Victims Fund.
Morris was indicted for Conspiracy to Distribute a Controlled Substance and Conspiracy to Launder Monetary Instruments by a federal grand jury in June of 2023. He pleaded guilty on August 30, 2023.
Morris created and orchestrated a drug trafficking organization from his prison cell within the Kern Valley State Prison in California, where he was incarcerated for murder. Using a cell phone which had been smuggled in, Morris communicated by call, text, and social media with members of his family, along with numerous other co-defendants from both South Dakota and California, in order to distribute large amounts of methamphetamine and fentanyl in the Sioux Falls, South Dakota area. Morris is attributed with distributing at least 200 pounds of methamphetamine and 80,000 fentanyl pills during his involvement in this conspiracy, drugs that were known to be sourced from Mexican cartels.
“This is one of two major federal drug sentences handed down this week in South Dakota,” said Alison J. Ramsdell, U.S. Attorney for the District of South Dakota. “In this instance, the defendant orchestrated the movement of enormous amounts of deadly substances into our communities, leaving a trail of devastation without ever stepping foot in South Dakota himself. Although independently noteworthy, collectively, these sentences should send a resounding message to drug traffickers—targeting South Dakota communities for the sale of methamphetamine and fentanyl will result in grave personal consequences. As this case demonstrates, drug traffickers will be relentlessly pursued by local and federal law enforcement and aggressively prosecuted in federal court.”
Others that have been charged as part of this conspiracy include Rigoberto Hernandez, age 32, of Los Angeles, California, who was sentenced on May 1, 2023, to 11 years and eight months in federal prison, followed by five years of supervised release; Reginald Davis, age 41, of Los Angeles, California, who was sentenced on May 26, 2023, to 17 years and one month in federal prison, followed by five years of supervised release; Kessara Mikkelson, age 35, of Sioux Falls, South Dakota, who was sentenced on October 30, 2023, to 19 years and seven months in federal prison, followed by five years of supervised release; and Asia Gunhammer, age 31, of Sioux Falls, South Dakota, who was sentenced on October 30, 2023, to 10 years and six months in federal prison, followed by five years of supervised release. All defendants were also ordered to pay a $100 special assessment to the Federal Crime Victims Fund. The case against Terry Morris, III, who is also facing charges of Conspiracy to Distribute a Controlled Substance, is still pending in the District of South Dakota.
This case was investigated by the FBI, Sioux Falls Police Department, and the Minnehaha County Sheriff’s Office. Assistant U.S. Attorney Mark Hodges prosecuted the case.
Morris, Jr. was immediately remanded to the custody of the U.S. Marshals Service.