Stephen J. Lee, Forum News Service, Published December 18 2013
Grand Forks man sentenced to 10 years for conspiring to move drugs from Texas into Minnesota and NDFARGO - A Grand Forks man, who with his siblings is facing extensive drug charges, was sentenced to 10½ years in federal prison this week after he pleaded guilty to conspiring to move methamphetamine and other drugs from Texas into Minnesota and North Dakota.
Devin Keplin, 35, is one of several siblings from Grand Forks facing federal drug charges after their arrests this year in drug deals involving a handful of other people, too.
Keplin and Matthew Garcia, 22, pleaded guilty in July to the drug conspiracy charge, reaching deals with federal prosecutors in Fargo.
U.S. District Judge Ralph Erickson on Monday sentenced Devin Keplin, who has an extensive criminal record in North Dakota and Minnesota, in federal court in Fargo.
Garcia was sentenced Oct. 30 to six years and four months in prison, with credit for the time he’s served since his arrest early this year.
According to investigators in a state case of alleged drug crimes against the men earlier this year, Garcia brought drugs from Texas to Grand Forks and was seen by a confidential informant dealing some at a trailer home where siblings of Keplin were living.
Earlier this year, Don Leigh Keplin, 41, was seen by a police informant dealing drugs with Garcia at the Grand Forks trailer home.
Dustin Keplin, 34 (or 32 by some documents), Desiree Keplin, 29, and Doree Keplin, 26, all siblings of Don Keplin and Devin Keplin, were said by state investigators to be part of a drug ring with several other people and were charged in state court in Grand Forks.
But when federal prosecutors picked up their cases, the state cases went dormant for the most part.
Don Keplin and several others, including Jimmy Joe Burnett, Linda Maszk and Debra Schubert, are scheduled to go to trial on drug conspiracy charges in February in federal court in Fargo. Some of them are working on plea deals in the meantime.
Facing up to 20 years, with a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years, Dustin Keplin reached a plea deal last month to serve less than that and is scheduled for sentencing in February. Doree Keplin also reached a plea deal last month and will be sentenced early next year.
Randall Feist, also charged in the conspiracy with Don Keplin, was arrested last week and made his initial appearance this week in federal court in Fargo.
Desiree Keplin has not been charged in federal court but she was sentenced this fall in state district court in Grand Forks to 90 days in jail on several felony drug charges as well as a child neglect felony count because drugs were in places her children could reach them in her home.
The most serious meth charges against her were dismissed in a plea deal.