(STL.News) – United States Attorney Ron Parsons announced that Bethlehem Shah, age 22, of Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada, was found guilty of Conspiracy to Distribute Cocaine as a result of a federal jury trial in Rapid City, South Dakota. The verdict was returned on August 21, 2020.
The charges carry a minimum of at least 10 years and not more than life imprisonment and/or a $10,000,000 fine, at least 5 years up to life supervised release, a $100 assessment to the Federal Crime Victims Fund, and restitution.
Shah was indicted by a federal grand jury on August 14, 2018.
On August 1, 2018, a co-conspirator was stopped by a South Dakota Highway Patrol Trooper, near Spearfish, South Dakota. During a search of the vehicle, the Trooper located approximately 40 kilograms, or 88 pounds, of cocaine. Defendant Shah was set to meet the co-conspirator in Fargo, North Dakota, where Shah would pick up the cocaine and transport it across the border into Canada. Through a series of consensually recorded phone calls to Shah by the co-conspirator and law enforcement, Shah then traveled to Spearfish believing she was going to pick up the cocaine. Instead, Shah was arrested.
“I want to congratulate the South Dakota Highway Patrol, the DEA, and the entire UNET team for this significant interdiction, investigation, and conviction,” said U.S. Attorney Parsons. “As drug trafficking networks continue to become more brazen and sophisticated, all of our law enforcement agencies are joining together to meet the challenge.”
This case was investigated by the Drug Enforcement Agency, the South Dakota Highway Patrol, and the local Unified Narcotics Enforcement Team. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Gina Nelson and Megan Poppen prosecuted the case.
A presentence investigation was ordered and a sentencing date is pending. The defendant was remanded to the custody of the U.S. Marshals Service.