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Man pleads not guilty in Red Lake meth seizure

BEMIDJI -- One of three people arrested for transporting methamphetamine to Red Lake from the Twin Cities in May has plead not guilty.

Joseph Jacob "Jake" Thunder III, 47, of Redby entered a not guilty plea in Beltrami County Court on June 23. He is accused of working with Alex "Sparky" Dejesus-Zuniga, 18, and Delisha Rae Rodriguez, 25, of Richfield, Minn., to bring 43 grams of meth onto the Red Lake reservation.

All three face first-degree conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine charges. They were apprehended by law enforcement on U.S. Highway 71 south of Bemidji on May 23.

First-degree conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine, carries a maximum prison sentence of 30 years and a $1,000,000 fine.

Thunder's criminal history includes a prior conviction for conspiracy to distribute cocaine on the Red Lake Indian Reservation. He was sentenced to three years in prison in 2008. Thunder also has two DWI charges in 1993 entered into the Minnesota Court Information System. Dejesus-Zuniga and Rodriguez do not have any charges listed on the MNCIS.

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

Thunder's next court appearance is a pre-trial hearing on July 23. Dejesus-Zuniga is scheduled to appear in court July 14 and Rodriguez has a court appearance set for Monday.

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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