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Bjerknes to plead guilty to state and federal charges

Third person pleads not guilty to transporting meth to Red Lake

BEMIDJI -- Three people were arrested in May for attempting to transport 43 grams of methamphetamine to the Red Lake Indian Reservation from the Twin Cities. All three people have now plead not guilty.

Alex “Sparky” Dejesus-Zuniga, 18, of Richfield entered a not guilty plea in Beltrami County Court Monday. Dejesus-Zuniga was arrested along with Delisha Rae Rodriguez, 25, of Richfield and Joseph “Jake” Thunder III, 47, of Redby. 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.

Thunder entered a not guilty plea in June. Rodriguez plead not guilty in July. Pre-trial court dates have been set for all three individuals. Dejesus-Zuniga is scheduled for an appearance on Oct. 14. Thunder is scheduled for a pretrial hearing July 22. Rodriguez is scheduled for a pretrial hearing Sept. 16.

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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