Two Pierre women, Tanya Janet Andrews and Paris Brin Koller, and five other southern Dakotans were recently sentenced to federal prison sentences for a major meth-amphetamine plot, US lawyer Ron Parsons said Wednesday.
All seven received a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years and a maximum life sentence in prison. And all seven ended up pleading guilty and taking shorter sentences.
Andrew, 44 years old, and Koller, 26 years old, were sentenced at the end of last year to 10 years in prison, followed by a five-year probationary period.
It was a lengthy investigation that took months to get all the useless results.
In May 2019, a federal judge ruled that a second repealing indictment or list of charges against seven would be sealed out of public jurisdiction until Andrews, who had just been charged with a new indictment, could be arrested.
Andrews also used the names Ponce, Hightower and Santiago, according to court documents.
Andrews and Koller individually admitted that from the “unknown date” until about November 7, 2018, they received meth from other members of the ring and sold it in the Sioux Falls area.
During my plot, I introduced the person who wanted to buy methamphetamine with the conspirator, said Paris Koller in her factual rationale, necessary as part of her guilt in June 2019. This man started buying meth from my partner. I agreed with this man to buy methamphetamine from my partner in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, and deliver it to this man.
Andrews made a similar statement in court in August 2019.
U.S. District Judge Karen Schreyer in Sioux Falls sentenced Koller to 10 years in federal prison on September 23, 2019, followed by a five-year probationary period.
Schreier imposed a similar proposal on Andrews on December 2, 2019.
There is no parole in the federal penitentiary system but prisoners, as a rule, receive 54 days like a “good time” for each year served. This would mean that approximately 1.5 years have recaptured a 10-year term.
Andrews’ time in Pierre included two sentences in the state women’s prison. In 2010, she was sentenced at Sioux Falls to 9 years, 7 months, with 4 years in prison for one drug offense, and 10 with imprisonment, for a second similar indicator. Apparently, she was released at the first parole hearing after 17 months.
On January 19, 2018, Andrews was sentenced to 5 years in Rapid City with a deferral of execution for a drug offense she remains on active parole with the public administration of correctional facilities.
Koller was also sentenced to a state prison on drug charges and remains on parole in this case, even when she was sentenced to federal prison.
Others in the plot: Nicholas Scott Flier, 26 years old, from Springs Valley, South Dakota, Brandon Alan Watters, 25 years old, from Sioux Falls, Cassie May Vogt, 31 years old, from Broni; and Amanda Lee Wiman, 32, from Sioux Falls. Each of them pleaded guilty and at the end of 2019 was sentenced to 10 years in a federal prison and 5 years of probation.
But the ringleader, Justin Robert Christensen, 31, was just sentenced on Monday, February 10, at Sioux Falls, to 23.3 years, followed by a 10-year probationary period.
This is why he got more time:
Investigators discovered that he received more than 10 pounds of meth in the Dark Web and passed it to others in the ring who were engaged in retail sales and collections, Parsons said in his news release on Wednesday, February 12.
The Dark Web is part of the Internet, which can only be accessed using a special browser that allows people to hide their identities and engage in various unseemly and often criminal activities, including buying drugs, child pornography, as well as fake for example, money or stolen credit cards.
As part of his plea bargain, Christensen admitted: “I used the Dark Network to buy methamphetamine,” and mailed it to me in South Dakota. I handed out methamphetamine to partners who then sold it to drug users in South Dakota and elsewhere.”
According to Parsons and court documents, he raised more than $ 200,000 and then laundered them to hide from the feds.
“My partner and I deposited cash from the sale of methamphetamine to South Dakota bank accounts, and then bought bitcoins through a Coinbase account,” Christensen said in court. This was done in whole or in part to conceal or conceal control over receipts, and so that I could use the funds received to purchase additional controlled substances, including methamphetamine, through the Dark Web.
Christensen was convicted of a conspiracy and money laundering scheme. He faced life in prison on charges before making a deal with prosecutors.
Earlier, the charge that he was a criminal in possession of several guns was dropped as part of his plea bargain. But he had to agree to lose two AK-style semi-automatic rifles, three 12-gauge rifles and a Beretta Luger-style semi-automatic pistol.
Parsons said the investigation included the US Postal Inspectorate, the Internal Security Service, and the Sioux Falls Task Force. Assistant US Attorney Jennifer Mammenga has opened a case in the case of seven.