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Published October 28, 2010, 09:34 PM

ND Man Sentenced to 27 Years on 25th Birthday

A North Dakota man who pleaded guilty to supplying methamphetamine that led to his friend's death was sentenced to 27 years in prison Thursday on his 25th birthday.

By: Dave Kolpack, Associated Press

FARGO, N.D. (AP) — A North Dakota man who pleaded guilty to supplying methamphetamine that led to his friend's death was sentenced to 27 years in prison Thursday on his 25th birthday.

Jesse Walters of Fargo had been charged in federal court on three counts, including possession with intent to distribute a controlled substance. He pleaded guilty in August.

Prosecutors said Walters continued to deal drugs after his friend, a 25-year-old West Fargo man, died from a meth overdose. The victim's family attended Thursday's hearing.

U.S. District Judge Ralph Erickson sentenced Walters to 27 years in prison, including 20 years on the drug charge and seven years on two weapons charges.

"We're in the loss business. Nobody wins," Erickson said. "This case brings that home in a way that most cases don't."

Erickson ordered Walters to pay more than $15,000 to the family of his friend for burial expenses. Walters apologized to the family before he was sentenced.

"I never intended for anyone to get hurt," he said.

"I made a series of bad choices. One after another," Walters said.

Walters is one of 15 people charged in the case. He cooperated with the government investigation and outlined the distribution system of the drug ring, prosecutors said.

Defense attorney Johnathan Judd addressed Walters' mother and the mother of the victim during his closing argument. Both of them have suffered losses, he said.

"This was a tragedy in many ways," Judd said.

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