CRIME

Head of ring that dealt heroin on reservations gets 25 years

The leader of a drug trafficking ring that brought heroin to Minnesota and North Dakota Indian reservations was sentenced Wednesday to 25 years in prison.

Omar Sharif Beasley, 39, was among 41 people charged in the drug trafficking case in which he and others brought heroin from Midwest cities like Detroit, Chicago and Minneapolis to the Red Lake and White Earth reservations in Minnesota and to Native American communities in North Dakota, prosecutors said.

Beasley had earlier pleaded guilty to conspiracy to distribute heroin, methamphetamine and other opioids.

Drug Enforcement Administration Supervisory Special Agent Kent Bailey said in a news release that Beasley "is a career criminal who preyed on the citizens of Minnesota and the surrounding area with complete disregard for the community's health and welfare. Our communities will be much safer with him behind bars for a long period of time."

According to Beasley's plea agreement and court documents, Beasley led a drug trafficking conspiracy from 2014 to 2015 in which he recruited drug sources, distributors, couriers and others to bring heroin and other drugs to the reservations. Beasley also traveled to the reservations himself, and then returned to major Midwestern cities to replenish the drug supply.

Beasley and others also kept drug stash houses on the reservations.

All but one of Beasley's co-defendants have pleaded guilty. The last defendant is still at large.

Red Lake Police Department Public Safety Director William Brunelle said, "Today's sentence sends a strong message that tribal lands are no place to sell your drugs."