U.S. Attorney’s Office Announces 37 People Indicted in Large-Scale Meth Trafficking Network in Operation Say Uncle
United States Attorney Ron Parsons announced that 37 people have been federally indicted as part of OCDETF Operation Say Uncle. OCDETF stands for Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Forces, which is a “keystone of the Attorney General’s strategy to reduce the availability of illicit narcotics throughout the United States using a prosecutor-led, multi-agency approach to combat transnational organized crime.” OCDETF identifies, disrupts and dismantles drug traffickers, money launderers, and transnational criminal organizations.
Federal prosecutors in Rapid City, South Dakota, working cooperatively with law enforcement agencies across the State, federally charged 37 defendants with drug-related offenses, despite the challenges imposed on the criminal justice system and law enforcement officers everywhere by COVID-19. The South Dakota Attorney General’s Office charged nine persons with state offenses as part of the same Operation. The charges allege the defendants conspired with each other to bring multiple pounds of methamphetamine into Western South Dakota beginning in 2019 and continuing into 2020.
Agencies involved in this effort include the South Dakota Division of Criminal Investigation, Drug Enforcement Administration, U.S. Marshals Service, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms, Rapid City Police Department, Pennington County Sheriff’s Office, Internal Revenue Service, U.S. Postal Inspection Service, Federal Bureau of Investigation, South Dakota Highway Patrol, Deadwood Police Department, Lawrence County Sheriff’s Office, Spearfish Police Department, Homeland Security Investigations, and Oglala Sioux Tribe Department of Public Safety. Outside of South Dakota, agencies assisted from the Reno County (KS) Drug Enforcement Unit, Billings (MT) Drug Task Force, Wyoming Division of Criminal Investigation, Saint Joe (MO) Drug Task Force, Utah Highway Patrol, Utah State Bureau of Investigation, Greensboro (NC) Drug Task Force, and the Yuba City (CA) NET5 Drug Task Force.
"These indictments are the result of tremendous cooperation and teamwork between all levels of law enforcement in South Dakota," said U.S. Attorney Ron Parsons. "I'm incredibly proud of these dedicated state, local, tribal, and federal officers and agents, and all hands are on deck as we continue to work together to defeat the scourge of illegal drugs that is devastating communities across the State."
“Our partnership with the U.S. Attorney’s office has been incredibly successful in this matter,” said David Natvig, Director of the South Dakota Division of Criminal Investigation. “Their cooperation and assistance have helped all the law enforcement agencies involved to see the fruits of the hard work they put into building this case.”
Those federally charged include: Erick Anaya (30, Archdale, NC); Kelly Barker (67, Rapid City, SD ); Ricardo Barragan (30, Aurora, CO); Christopher Bell (27, Rapid City, SD); Nathan Bellew (39, Hot Springs, SD); Kelley Blevins (42, Box Elder, SD); Robert Brenden (33, Rapid City, SD); Jennifer Cagle (32, Box Elder, SD); Robert Cagle (31, Box Elder, SD); Uzziel Carillo-Rojas (33, Mazatlan, Mexico); Charles Clark (42, Box Elder, SD); Jennifer Clark (41, Box Elder, SD); Mason Colbath (29, Rapid City, SD); Michael Cole (30, Rapid City, SD); Melvin Corbine (43, Rapid City, SD); Justin Coyle (34, Rapid City, SD); Lenin Flores-Herrera (27, Mazatlan, Mexico); Matthew Foster (43, Huron, SD); Luis Gonzalez Meza (42, Tijuana, Mexico); Patrick Greenfield (30, Rapid City, SD); Erin Hunter (35, Rapid City, SD); Rayne Jackson (27, Denver, CO); Stephen Jordan (30, Rapid City, SD); Scott Kallstrom (40, Rapid City, SD); Christina Kruse (23, Sioux Falls, SD); Anthony Larson (40, Rapid City, SD); Delaine Martinez (43, Billings, MT); Michael McLeod (41, Rapid City, SD); Teri Moore (36, Hot Springs, SD); Javier Reyna (56, Oceanside, CA); Tiana Rountree (24, Rapid City, SD); Aynjel Schumacher (26, Rapid City, SD); Martin Shaw (45, Rapid City, SD); Michael Sherard (34, Brooklyn Park, MN); John Thornberry (23, Spearfish, SD); Darwin Toof (30, Box Elder, SD ); and Eric Yockey (35, Black Hawk, SD). All but three of the defendants have been arrested. All arrested defendants are pending trial, with the exceptions of Barker, Bell, Hunter, and Schumacher, each of whom has pleaded guilty. Bell was sentenced on November 16, 2020, to more than 12 years in federal prison. Barker, Hunter, and Schumacher are pending sentencing.
These charges are merely accusations and the defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.
The South Dakota Attorney General’s Office has charged Travis Maho, Alex Nimmor, Duane Apple, Keith Laframboise, Orlyn Anderson, Tabitha Range, Chris Luke, Zack Franzen, and Christopher Tomac in connection with this investigation. Those charges, as well, are merely accusations and the defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty
Finally, Kansas authorities prosecuted co-conspirator Jennie Wallace, who was sentenced to more than 12 years in federal prison.
The case is being prosecuted federally by Assistant U.S. Attorney Kathryn N. Rich. The state charged defendants are being prosecuted by Assistant Attorney General Trevor Thielen.