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Federal jury finds Red Lake man guilty of cocaine trafficking

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SIOUX FALLS, S.D. - U.S. Attorney Marty J. Jackley announced June 30 that a federal jury in Minneapolis found Ramon Charles Sayers, aka Razor, of Red Lake, Minn., guilty of two charges relating to cocaine trafficking on the Red Lake Indian Reservation in northern Minnesota.

Sayers was charged with two drug-related offenses - conspiracy to distribute or possess with intent to distribute five kilograms or more of cocaine and use of a communication facility (telephone) in causing and facilitating the commission of a felony under the Controlled Substances Act.

After a three-day trial in U.S. District Court in Minneapolis, the jury voted to convict Sayers on both counts. He now faces a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years and a maximum sentence of life imprisonment and/or a $4 million fine on the conspiracy count, and a maximum possible sentence of four years and/or a $250,000 fine on the use of a communication facility count. The prosecution was handled by the South Dakota U.S. Attorney;s Office after the Minnesota U.S. Attorney's Office recused itself due to a conflict of interest.

This case began in early 2005, when law enforcement officials learned of a large-scale cocaine conspiracy operating on Red Lake. Following a thorough and comprehensive investigation, federal prosecutors obtained indictments which ultimately named 34 individuals and charged each with conspiracy.

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Twenty-six individuals pleaded guilty to the conspiracy offense.

In addition, six individuals pleaded guilty to the use of a communication facility offense.

''Today's verdict caps an investigation which involved federal, state, municipal and tribal law enforcement agencies. Their cooperative efforts have put this drug conspiracy out of business and will hopefully make the Red Lake reservation a safer place to live,'' Jackley said.

Agencies involved in the investigation included the FBI, ATF, DEA, the Minnesota Department of Public Safety, the Red Lake Police Department, the Headwaters Safe Trails Task Force, the Paul Bunyan Narcotics Task Force, the Minneapolis Police Department, the Hennepin County Sheriff's Office, the Leech Lake Tribal Police Department and the Beltrami County Sheriff's Office. The case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney John Haak of Sioux Falls.

Presentence investigations have been ordered for Sayers and all of those who previously entered guilty pleas. No sentencing dates have yet been set.