Judge gives Hankinson man break in drug case

A 22-year-old Hankinson, N.D., man will spend nearly seven years in prison for his role in a drug-trafficking network responsible for bringing meth, cocaine and marijuana into the Red River Valley.

A 22-year-old Hankinson, N.D., man will spend nearly seven years in prison for his role in a drug-trafficking network responsible for bringing meth, cocaine and marijuana into the Red River Valley.

Jonathan Olbay Meyer pleaded guilty last March to drug conspiracy and firearms charges before cooperating with state and federal agents investigating the region's drug trade.

U.S. District Judge Ralph Erickson ordered Meyer to 83 months in prison. Federal prosecutors were seeking a sentence of eight years, or 96 months, for him.

Defense lawyer Cash Aaland argued a prior misdemeanor conviction distorted Meyer's criminal history score used to calculate federal sentencing guidelines.

"The bottom line, judge, is that it seems like a long time," Aaland said. "Eight years is harsh for the situation."

Meyer also offered an apology to his family and the community for selling drugs.

"I feel the sentences we give in a lot of these cases are long and harsh," Erickson said.

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