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Bjerknes to plead guilty to state and federal charges

Redby man changes not guilty plea in meth transport case

BEMIDJI -- A Redby man who plead not guilty in June to felony first-degree conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine changed his plea to guilty on Friday.

Joseph “Jake” Thunder III, 47, was arrested in May for attempting to transport 43 grams of methamphetamine to the Red Lake Indian Reservation from the Twin Cities. Thunder was arrested along with Alex “Sparky” Dejesus-Zuniga, 18 and Delisha Rae Rodriguez, 25, of Richfield. The three were stopped by local law enforcement on U.S. Highway 71 south of Bemidji.

All three individuals are charged with first-degree conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine, which carries a maximum prison sentence of 30 years and a $1,000,000 fine. Dejesus-Zuniga is also charged with giving a peace officer a false name with intent to obstruct justice, which adds another potential 90 days in jail and a $1,000 fine.

Rodriguez plead not guilty in July. Dejesus-Zuniga entered the same plea in July. Rodriguez is scheduled for a pretrial hearing Sept. 16. Dejesus-Zuniga is scheduled for an appearance on Oct. 14. Thunder is scheduled for sentencing on Aug. 25.

Rodriguez, Thunder and Dejesus-Zuniga are currently being held in the Beltrami County Jail.

Crystal Dey
Crystal Dey covers crime, courts, tribal relations and social issues for The Bemidji Pioneer in Bemidji, Minnesota. Originally from Minnesota’s Iron Range, Dey has worked for the Echo Press in Alexandria, Minnesota, The Forum in Fargo, North Dakota, The Tampa Tribune in Tampa, Florida, the Hartford Courant in Hartford and West Hartford News in West Hartford, Connecticut. Dey studied Mass Communications at Minnesota State University Moorhead with an emphasis in Online Journalism. Follow Crystal Dey on Twitter @Crystal_Dey.
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