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Published August 19, 2013, 08:30 PM

Probation for woman in drug case

Allyson Desantos, 23, the only woman charged in the synthetic drug conspiracy blamed in the deaths of two teens in Grand Forks last summer was sentenced Monday to three years of probation by U.S. District Judge Ralph Erickson, said Brett Shasky, assistant U.S. attorney in Fargo.

By: Stephen J. Lee, Grand Forks Herald

Allyson Desantos, 23, the only woman charged in the synthetic drug conspiracy blamed in the deaths of two teens in Grand Forks last summer was sentenced Monday to three years of probation by U.S. District Judge Ralph Erickson, said Brett Shasky, assistant U.S. attorney in Fargo.

It’s the lightest sentence so far in the federal case that has seen seven others already sentenced to terms ranging from 15 months to 12.5 years in federal prison.

Fifteen people have been charged, all but two already taking plea deals.

Chris Myers, the assistant U.S. attorney prosecuting the case, said the hallucinogens made and distributed by Andrew Spofford in Grand Forks last year led to the deaths of Christian Bjerk, 18, and Elijah Stai, 17, and the hospitalization of several other young people within days in June 2012.

The initial state charges against Spofford and several others filed in a Grand Forks court were dropped last August as federal prosecutors took over the case.

Charles William Carlton and John Robert Polinsky, both of Houston and who Myers has characterized as the leaders in an international drug operation, are scheduled to go to trial in February 2014 in Fargo.

Myers has said Carlton and Polinsky obtained chemicals and drugs from sources in China and several European countries to distribute across the United States, including to Spofford, who used the chemicals to make the hallucinogens blamed in the deaths of Bjerk and Stai.

Byron Landry, Kiln, Miss., is scheduled Friday to formally enter the guilty plea he agreed to in April.

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