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Published July 10 2012

East Grand Forks drug ring leader pleads guilty in federal court

FARGO – An East Grand Forks, Minn., man charged in federal court with organizing a drug trafficking ring pleaded guilty today to counts of money laundering conspiracy to promote specified unlawful activity and continuing criminal enterprise.

Noah Robert Bergland, 26, was indicted with 18 other defendants in May for conspiracy to possess and distribute controlled substances that included heroin, cocaine, marijuana and other drugs across Minnesota and North Dakota.

By entering a plea agreement, charges against Bergland for conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute controlled substances and conspiracy to unlawfully use wire communication facilities were dropped.

By pleading guilty to the charge of continuing criminal enterprise, the American Crystal Sugar Co. employee also agreed to forfeit $250,000 that prosecutors said was drug ring proceeds.

On the count of money laundering conspiracy, Bergland could face the maximum of 20 years in prison and a $5,000 fine.

By pleading guilty to the continuing criminal enterprise, a charge only made against Bergland of the 19 defendants, he could face a maximum of life imprisonment and a $2,000,000 fine.

Because he occupied a “position of organizer, supervisor and manager” according to the charges, Bergland would face a mandatory 20 years imprisonment.

Bergland also waived his right to appeal the sentencing, which will be issued October 15.