District Court judge sentences last defendant in trafficking heroin on reservation case
Eight people were convicted and sentenced in connection to the case of distributing heroin on the Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe Reservation.
A final defendant was sentenced Monday, June 29, in a Mille Lacs Reservation heroin trafficking conspiracy.
United States Attorney Erica H. MacDonald announced the sentencing in a news release. David Lee Snoddy, 38, was sentenced to 33 months in prison for his role in a heroin distribution conspiracy that targeted the Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe Reservation and surrounding communities.
Snoddy pleaded guilty Feb. 12 to conspiracy to distribute heroin and was sentenced before Judge Eric C. Tostrud in U.S. District Court in St. Paul. Co-defendants Tyrone James Nelson, 39, Robert Dontell Sykes, 49, Ramon Ford, 60, Devonn Rose Mitchell, 24, Kristin Rae Boyd, 30, Duwayne Ivan Schensen, 27, and Chase Reed Nickaboine, 21, previously entered guilty pleas and were sentenced for their roles in the conspiracy.
According to Snoddy’s guilty plea and documents filed in court, from March 2018 through June 2018, Snoddy knowingly conspired with Nelson, the main source and distributor in the conspiracy, and others to distribute heroin on the Mille Lacs Indian Reservation and surrounding communities. Snoddy admitted to distributing and assisting in distributing up to 400 grams of heroin.
The investigation, which covered a span from December 2017 through June 2018, was led by the Mille Lacs Band Tribal Police and the Bureau of Indian Affairs Division of Drug Enforcement. The bureau was instrumental in the investigation, according to Mille Lacs Band Chief of Police Sara Rice.
“We worked hand-in-hand with the BIA DDE drug agents,” Rice stated in the release. “They were incorporated into our department throughout the entire process of investigation during this case. Several other agencies were critically involved in the lengthy investigation as well and we thank them for their assistance.”
Additional assistance was cooperatively provided by investigators from Mille Lacs, Crow Wing and Sherburne county sheriff’s offices, Lakes Area Drug Investigation Division, Paul Bunyan Drug Task Force, Red Lake Tribal and Minneapolis police departments, Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension, Drug Enforcement Agency, Minnesota Department of Corrections the U.S. Attorney’s Office and the U.S. Marshal’s Office.
According to the guilty plea and other documents filed in court throughout the investigation, Nelson obtained heroin from individuals in Minneapolis and transported it to communities in and surrounding the Mille Lacs Reservation. Nelson, who was the main source and distributor of heroin in the Mille Lacs area, had befriended enrolled Mille Lacs Band members and used their homes to operate his business. Nelson’s place of residence is unknown, according to court documents.
“This case and subsequent sentencing sends a clear message to drug dealers that we do not tolerate their toxic business in our neighborhoods and on our Reservation,” Rice stated. “I am proud of our officers and investigators for their steadfast determination and unrelenting attention to continue to fight these and all drug dealers in an effort to make our Reservation safe for our Band members and our neighbors.”
“The Band is very grateful for the critical assistance provided by Bureau of Indian Affairs, federal law enforcement officers, and the U.S. Attorney,” Mille Lacs Band Chief Executive Melanie Benjamin stated. “I would especially like to thank our Mille Lacs Tribal Police force. They have done outstanding work in leading this effort with our federal partners to address the drug epidemic on our Reservation.”
Assistant U.S. Attorney Deidre Y. Aanstad prosecuted the case.
Sentencing details of other defendants:
Nelson was convicted and sentenced to conspiracy to distribute heroin and given 77 months or six years and four months in prison with four years of supervised release.
Sykes was convicted to conspiracy to distribute heroin and given five years in prison with four years of supervised release.
Ford was convicted of aiding and abetting possession with intent to distribute heroin, and sentenced to 46 months in prison with three years of supervised release.
Mitchell was convicted of aiding and abetting distribution of heroin and sentenced to five years in prison with three years of supervised release.
Boyd was convicted of aiding and abetting distribution of heroin and sentenced to two years in prison with three years of supervised release.
Schwensen was convicted of aiding and abetting distribution of heroin and sentenced to 78 months or 6 1/2 years in prison with three years of supervised release.
Nickboine was convicted of aiding and abetting distribution of heroin and sentenced to 37 months in prison with three years of supervised release.