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2 plead guilty in federal heroin case

FARGO - Two of the six defendants in a heroin distribution case pleaded guilty Wednesday in U.S. District Court in Fargo, the first convictions since the U.S. Attorney's Office here announced an anti-heroin campaign last month.

FARGO - Two of the six defendants in a heroin distribution case pleaded guilty Wednesday in U.S. District Court in Fargo, the first convictions since the U.S. Attorney's Office here announced an anti-heroin campaign last month.

Ramsey Coltrane Crespo, 20, and Tyrone LaFonz John Parker, 22, each pleaded guilty to one conspiracy count of possessing heroin with intent to distribute and distributing the drug.

As part of a plea agreement with prosecutors, a mandatory minimum sentence of five years in prison was removed. Sentencing is set for April 10.

Crespo and Parker admitted they received heroin from people in the Twin Cities, including Anthony Lamont Johnson and Douglas Levon Mobley, who were among the six people indicted by a grand jury. Parker also admitted he sold 7.57 grams of heroin to an undercover officer on May 5 in Fargo.

Mobley, Johnson, Britney Nicole Fairbanks and Isaac Gustav Escobedo have pleaded not guilty in the case, which alleges the distribution of more than 100 grams of a substance containing heroin in the metro area from January to October of last year.

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Assistant U.S. Attorney Chris Myers said he couldn't comment on Wednesday's pleas because of the pending cases from the same indictment.

The indictment was unsealed in early December, around the same time North Dakota U.S. Attorney Tim Purdon announced an effort by local police and prosecutors to target heroin use and distribution in the metro area.

Authorities worry young people who use prescription pills such as OxyContin and Vicodin will switch to the less expensive heroin and overdose, which has happened elsewhere in the Midwest in recent years.

In another heroin distribution case, filed Dec. 7 in federal court in Fargo, three defendants have pleaded not guilty to conspiracy to possess heroin with intent to distribute and distributing the drug: Chase Andrew Kellenberger, Patrick Michael Schiele and Adrian Galindo.

A fourth defendant, Omar Demarco Hodges, is set to be arraigned today on the same charge and an additional count of employing someone under the age of 18 in a drug operation.

The fifth defendant hasn't been identified, and details of the case won't be unsealed until all defendants appear in court.

Readers can reach Forum reporter Mike Nowatzki at (701) 241-5528

Related Topics: CRIME
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