Decades in prison for 3 sentenced in North Dakota fentanyl trafficking probe

Jul 25, 2023, 3:14 PM | Updated: 3:26 pm

FILE - The federal courthouse stands in Fargo, N.D., June 19, 2023. A federal judge has sentenced t...

FILE - The federal courthouse stands in Fargo, N.D., June 19, 2023. A federal judge has sentenced two more men indicted as part of an alleged international fentanyl trafficking operation. On Tuesday, July 25, Daniel Vivas Ceron, of Colombia, was sentenced to 27 in prison, with five years supervised release and over $11,000 in restitution. On Monday, July 24, Jason Joey Berry, of Cornwall, Ontario, was sentenced to 24 years in prison. (AP Photo/Jack Dura, File)

(AP Photo/Jack Dura, File)

A federal judge has sentenced three more men charged in connection with an alleged international fentanyl trafficking operation.

U.S. Chief District Court Judge Peter Welte on Tuesday sentenced extradited from Panama to the U.S. in 2017. In 2019, he pleaded guilty to charges including drug conspiracy and money laundering.

On Monday, Welte sentenced Jason Joey Berry, 40 of Cornwall, Ontario, to 24 years in prison. Berry was extradited from Canada to the U.S. in 2021. Last year he pleaded guilty last year to a drug conspiracy charge.

Last week, Welte sentenced Xuan Cahn Nguyen, 43, of Point-Aux-Tremble, Quebec to 22 years in prison. He pleaded guilty in March to drug conspiracy and money laundering charges.

Authorities say Ceron and Berry used a cellphone from inside a Quebec prison to arrange shipments of fentanyl and fentanyl analogues from China to Canada and the U.S. as part of the alleged criminal enterprise. The trafficking led to fatal and nonfatal overdoses in North Dakota, Oregon, New Jersey and North Carolina, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office in North Dakota.

“The Justice Department will continue to hold accountable those like Ceron, Berry, Nguyen, and members of their network who injected fentanyl and fentanyl analogues into American society with deadly results. Concerted efforts like Operation Denial demonstrate the Justice Department’s commitment to eliminating the influx of fentanyl into our communities at their points of origin,” Assistant Attorney General Kenneth A. Polite Jr. of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division said in a statement Tuesday.

The defendants are among more than 30 people charged in North Dakota and Oregon in connection with Operation Denial, the investigation begun in North Dakota in January 2015 following the overdose death of Bailey Henke, 18, of Grand Forks.

The investigation has resulted in two dozen sentencings and convictions and nearly $1 million in forfeitures of cash and property.

The U.S. State Department is offering a reward of up to $5 million for information leading to the arrest and/or conviction of Jian Zhang, a fugitive in the investigation. Authorities also are seeking four other Chinese fugitives.

National News

Associated Press

Weapons charges dropped in 2018 raid on family compound in desert that turned up child’s remains

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — Two firearms charges were dismissed Thursday amid preparations for a trial against an extended family arrested in a 2018 law enforcement raid on a ramshackle desert compound in northern New Mexico and the discovery of a young boy’s decomposed body. The changes narrow the case to terrorism and kidnapping charges […]

39 minutes ago

FILE - Sabreen Sharrief, right, reaches out to hug fellow plaintiff Dorothy Triplett after testifyi...

Associated Press

Mississippi high court blocks appointment of some judges in majority-Black capital city and county

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — The Mississippi Supreme Court on Thursday struck down part of a state law that would have authorized some circuit court judges to be appointed rather than elected in the capital city of Jackson and the surrounding county, which are both majority-Black. Critics said the law was an effort by the majority-white […]

1 hour ago

Associated Press

Wisconsin Republicans propose impeaching top elections official after disputed vote to fire her

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — A group of Republican Wisconsin lawmakers on Thursday proposed impeaching the battleground state’s top elections official as Democrats wage a legal battle to keep the nonpartisan administrator in office. Democrats say the GOP-controlled state Senate acted illegitimately when it voted along party lines last week to oust Wisconsin Elections Commission Administrator […]

3 hours ago

Associated Press

Wildfire-prone California to consider new rules for property insurance pricing

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — A new plan from California’s insurance commissioner aims to stop the nation’s top insurers from leaving the wildfire-prone state by letting them consider climate risks when setting their prices. Unlike most states, California tightly restricts how insurance companies can price policies. Companies aren’t allowed to factor in current or future risks […]

3 hours ago

Associated Press

Former Mississippi Democratic Party chair sues to reinstate himself, saying his ouster was improper

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — The former chair of Mississippi’s Democratic Party has filed a lawsuit seeking to reinstate himself as its leader, arguing that he was improperly ousted in July. Tyree Irving, a former appellate judge who had chaired the state party since 2020, was voted out by a majority of party officials at a […]

4 hours ago

Media magnate Rupert Murdoch says he will step down as the leader of Fox News' parent company and h...

Associated Press

Who are Rupert Murdoch’s children? What to know about the media magnate’s successor and family

NEW YORK (AP) — Media magnate Rupert Murdoch on Monday announced that he would be stepping down as the leader of both Fox News’ parent company and his News Corp media holdings — with his son, Lachlan, set to take his place. Through his decades-long career, Murdoch, 92, built an empire — beginning with his […]

4 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

Swedish Cyberknife...

September is Prostate Cancer Awareness Month

September is a busy month on the sports calendar and also holds a very special designation: Prostate Cancer Awareness Month.

Ziply Fiber...

Dan Miller

The truth about Gigs, Gs and other internet marketing jargon

If you’re confused by internet technologies and marketing jargon, you’re not alone. Here's how you can make an informed decision.

Education families...

Education that meets the needs of students, families

Washington Virtual Academies (WAVA) is a program of Omak School District that is a full-time online public school for students in grades K-12.

Emergency preparedness...

Emergency planning for the worst-case scenario

What would you do if you woke up in the middle of the night and heard an intruder in your kitchen? West Coast Armory North can help.

Innovative Education...

The Power of an Innovative Education

Parents and students in Washington state have the power to reimagine the K-12 educational experience through Insight School of Washington.

Medicare fraud...

If you’re on Medicare, you can help stop fraud!

Fraud costs Medicare an estimated $60 billion each year and ultimately raises the cost of health care for everyone.

Decades in prison for 3 sentenced in North Dakota fentanyl trafficking probe