9 indicted in suspected $2.5M west-central Minnesota meth ring


Nine people have been indicted on federal charges for their suspected involvement in a multistate drug ring that led to the discovery of $2.5 million-worth of methamphetamine in Minnesota.

Six Minnesotans are among those hit with the charges following a 21-month, multi-agency investigation into a large scale meth distribution program across Minnesota, North Dakota and South Dakota, according to the West Central Tribune.

The charges came after police discovered more than 40 pounds of meth, the newspaper reports, with a street value of $2.5 million that was being brought into and distributed in Stevens and Douglas County, in west-central Minnesota.

All nine were charged with conspiracy to possess with the intent to distribute, and distribution of a controlled substance by the U.S Attorney's Office of North Dakota, the Pioneer Press reports.

Of the Minnesotans charged, Darren James Aschemann, 45, of Alexandria, received the biggest sentence, as he was sentenced to 17 years in prison.

Craig Ray Johnson, 50, of Alberta, was sentenced to 30 months in prison; Lorelei Ann Dierks, 48, of Chokio, was sentenced to 68 months; and James Joseph Caswell, 30, of Fergus Falls, received a 48-month sentence.

Cynthia Marie Hoffman, 57, of Campbell, was sentenced to 12 months in an in-patient rehabilitation center.

Mitchell Phillip Fink, of Tenney, Minnesota, will be sentenced on December 15, the Park Rapids Enterprise notes, along with Scott Andrew Anderson, of Fargo. Proceedings are still pending against two others indicted in the case, while a 10th person that was due to be indicted was murdered in Fargo last November.

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