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Drug dealing SCUMBAG sentenced to 15 years

A Thief River Falls man was sentenced Tuesday, Sept. 20 in Pennington County District Court for nine felony offenses. The charges stemmed from the sale or possession of methamphetamine mixtures totalling more than 68.17 grams. The incidents go back to May 1, 2014.

Erick Carl Longo, 40, was sentenced to more than 15 years in prison. He was expected to be remanded to the Minnesota Department of Corrections in a few weeks after a hearing is held regarding his financial responsibilities, including whether any forfeitures will be made.
Details of the sentencing are as follows. All sentences are to be served concurrently.
• Racketeering – 84 months in prison
• Fourth degree controlled substance crime – 15 months in prison
• First degree controlled substance crime – 110 months in prison
• First degree controlled substance crime – 134 months in prison
• Second degree controlled substance crime – 129 months in prison
• Conspiracy to commit a first degree controlled substance crime – 189 months in prison
• Conspiracy to commit a first degree sale of a controlled substance – 189 months in prison
• Fifth degree controlled substance crime – 18 months in prison
• Third degree possession of a controlled substance crime – 49 months in prison
As a condition of those sentences, Longo was ordered to supply a DNA sample. He was ordered to not possess firearms. Financial terms were stayed until the upcoming hearing. Longo was given credit for time served.

A Pennington County jury convicted Longo of the nine felonies after a six-day trial in July. The jury acquitted him of one count each of second degree controlled substance crime and conspiracy to commit a first degree controlled substance crime. Earlier, another racketeering charge, one count of second degree controlled substance crime, one count of conspiracy to commit a second degree controlled substance crime, one count of third degree controlled substance crime, and one count of fourth degree controlled substance crime were dismissed.

Prior to sentencing Tuesday, Judge Eric Schieferdecker denied a defense motion for a new trial. Longo’s attorney, Assistant Public Defender Joshua Melgaard, argued that the evidence didn’t support the verdicts.

Schieferdecker noted that Melgaard referred to Christopher Seglem, a confidential informant who was later identified by the authorities. Longo was convicted of selling 17.74 grams of meth mixtures over a 90-day period. Most were sold to Seglem, who has since been sentenced for setting up law enforcement and individuals. However, Longo and Seglem both told law enforcement that Longo wasn’t involved in Seglem’s crimes.

Schieferdecker indicated that extensive disclosures regarding Seglem were provided to the defense and used at the trial. He said that the jury still believed Seglem, and officers corroborated a lot of the activity to which Seglem testified.

Longo’s wife, Vyetta, earlier presented a letter to court administration on her husband’s behalf. Schieferdecker said it would be more appropriate to discuss the issues at a post-conviction relief hearing. He indicated that Erick Longo claimed that Melgaard didn’t contest the last search warrant executed in the case. Schieferdecker advised Longo to take that issue to the State Public Defender’s Office.

Prior to sentencing, a crying Longo pointed at Assistant Pennington County Attorney Steve Moeller and said, “He knows I didn’t do it.” He then pointed at Ron Woolever, a narcotics investigator with the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension, and said, “He knows I didn’t do it.”

When given the opportunity to speak, Longo said he wanted to see his wife, who was in the courtroom that day. Schieferdecker replied that Longo was still in custody.

Longo added that he didn’t do all of the things law enforcement said he had done. Crying, he indicated there may be only 10 percent truth in the case. Longo was given the opportunity to compose himself and speak with his attorney during a short recess. In the midst of that break, Vyetta Longo could be heard, making loud statements related to the case in the court administration hallway.

Complaint
The charges stemmed from incidents spanning back to May 1, 2014. Eight people told investigators that Erick Longo had a drug operation in which mules or runners were used to sell meth, according to the complaint. He would give them free meth, cigarettes or gas money to help in the operation. Some said meth would be floated to some buyers, but Longo would confiscate their property or damage it if the debt weren’t paid. One man said he gave the title of his motorcycle to Longo. After the man was unable to pay his debt for two eight-balls of meth, Longo confiscated the motorcycle.

Another man said someone owed $2,000 from a previous drug debt. He said Longo instructed him and a third man to hire people to burn down a barn belonging to the debtor’s relative. The barn later burned down, and the State Fire Marshal’s Office was unable to determine the cause of the fire.

During the trial, there was apparently testimony that Longo directed someone to kill a dog belonging to the sheriff’s daughter. Melgaard characterized that testimony as a reputational rumor.

The complaint further noted that neither Longo nor his wife, Vyetta, had a steady job. However, they were able to pay about $9,600 over five months toward a contract for deed for Ashley Castillo and her father. Vyetta Longo also paid for her husband’s bail with $10,000 in cash. After encountering Erick Longo, who had been assaulted at St. Bernard’s Catholic Cemetery, police learned he possessed $20,000 in cash. Witnesses indicated that the money came from the proceeds of meth sales. Longo also possessed a stamp that said “Longo’s Dope House Sales Auto & Loan.”

After being arrested, Longo admitted that he marked his bags of meth with a B or T. During controlled drug buys, law enforcement obtained bags marked in that manner. According to the complaint, he also admitted that two baggies of a meth mixture found in his home belonged to him. The mixtures weighed 12.43 grams.

Longo was also convicted of selling one or more meth mixtures totalling 10 or more grams with Christopher Marvin Leeper on Sept. 29, 2014. He was also convicted of two counts of conspiring to sell one or more meth mixtures totalling 10 or more grams with Leeper, Bobbi Jo Garfve, Heather Flickinger, Ashley Castillo, Sasha Carriere, Brandon “SNITCH” Wasley and Vyetta Longo. One of the counts allegedly involved Jordi Lancette while the other did not.

In addition, Longo was convicted of possessing an eight-gram mixture containing meth.

 

“Longo’s Dope House Sales Auto & Loan.” is closed for business

Red Lake man sentenced for two felony offenses

A Red Lake man was sentenced in Pennington County District for two felony offenses. Four other felony offenses – felon in possession of a firearm, theft of a motor vehicle, theft of a firearm and theft of a controlled substance – were dismissed against Jeffery Lee Oliver, 33.

Oliver was sentenced for felony offenses of felon in possession of ammunition and fifth degree controlled substance crime. For the ammunition charge, he was sentenced to 45 months in prison. Oliver was ordered to supply a DNA sample. He was ordered to not use or possess firearms, ammunition or explosives. Oliver was also ordered to pay $210 in fees and fines.

For the drug charge, Oliver was ordered to serve 13 months in prison. That sentence is to be served concurrently with the ammunition charge. He was ordered to supply a DNA sample. Oliver was ordered to not use or possess firearms, ammunition or weapons.

The charges stemmed from a 911 call according to the complaint. An anonymous caller said that someone was going to rob a man at 202 Osmond Ave. N., Goodridge. A sheriff’s deputy drove by the man’s house and soon saw the man’s van being driven on a nearby highway. He followed the van. The driver was swerving over both the centerline and the fog line.

The deputy told Chief Deputy Ben Kuznia to call the man to check on him. The driver, later identified as Oliver, stopped east of 330th Avenue Northeast. He said the owner told him that he could drive the van to Red Lake. The trooper noticed ammunition sitting on the passenger’s seat. Upon asking Oliver to exit the vehicle, the deputy heard a rattling sound coming from Oliver’s pants pocket. Inside was a hydrocodone bottle with the man’s name on the prescription.

Oliver said he was holding onto the bottle for the man. A pat-down search resulted in the deputy finding a cell phone that also belongs to the man. When asked, Oliver said that he tucked the man into bed and then left to drive to Red Lake. He said he didn’t know that ammunition was inside of the van since he doesn’t own it.

Law enforcement also found a loaded black revolver behind the passenger’s seat. It was wedged into position by a tire. When asked by the deputy, Oliver said that he was a two-time felon and asked the deputy why he would have a gun as a felon.

The man told law enforcement that he fell and hurt his shoulder after drinking too much at a party earlier that evening. The man said “Jeff” gave him a ride home with the intention of the man giving Jeff a ride home the next day. He said the pills were stored in a lockbox. The key was located on a key chain that also contained the key for his van.

The complaint indicated that Oliver was convicted in federal court in March 2005 of felony assault resulting in bodily injury and for felony aggravated assault using a weapon.

Burglary among incidents reported to police

Burglary

On June 21 at 10:31 a.m., police received a report of a burglary at 727 Crocker Ave. S. Someone had stolen a 6.5 223 model Thompson contender firearm out of a garage. The theft loss was more than $500.

Possession of a small amount of marijuana

On June 20 at 4:08 a.m., police observed an idling vehicle stopped at a stop sign at the intersection of Greenwood Street and Highway 59. The driver, Tyler Gordon Aery, then turned on the flashers of the vehicle. Aery allegedly appeared to be under the influence of something. Aery, 27, Blackduck, has been cited for possession of a small amount of marijuana.

Violation of conditions of release

On June 20 at 7:19 p.m., a man called 911, saying that he wanted to turn himself in to authorities. Jesse Lee Armstrong, 27, Thief River Falls, has charges pending for a violation of conditions of his release. He was arrested. Armstrong allegedly consumed alcohol, which is a violation of his conditions of release from custody.

Contempt of court and disorderly conduct

On June 21 at 10:32 p.m., police received a report of a disturbance at 1560 Hwy 59 S.E. Sean Joseph Wessel, 27, Thief River Falls, has been cited for contempt of court and disorderly conduct. He was arrested. Wessel was allegedly consuming alcohol. He was out of jail on conditions from the Stearns County District Court at the time.

Theft and driving after revocation

On June 21 at 11:04 p.m., police received a report that shoplifters were on the run with a cart full of merchandise at Walmart. Robert David Fier, 27, Bemidji, has charges pending for driving after revocation and theft. Kristi Lynn Day, 42, Bryan Earl Sumner, 29, and Amanda Lynn Neadeau, 32, all of Red Lake, have charges pending for theft. They allegedly stole merchandise valued at less than $1,000.