Last Wednesday, October 3, members of the Pine County Sheriff's Office and the East Central Drug and Violent Offenders Task Force arrested and charged Ronald Keith Halverson, 62, of Willow River with possession of narcotics and possession with intent to distribute narcotics.
He is being charged with sale of drugs in the second degree, sale of 25 kilos or more marijuana within 90 days, which carries a prison term of up to 25 years. A second charge was for drug possession in the third degree, possessing 10 kilos or more marijuana mixture.
This was in relation to an investigation into illegal narcotics trafficking from the border of Mexico in southern Arizona, up to Pine County and into Ohio. A vehicle containing several duffle bags of marijuana was seized in South Dakota en route to Willow River.
Investigators executed a search warrant at the subject's address in Willow River discovering several more duffle bags of marijuana and large amounts of U.S. currency.
The driver of the vehicle, Justin Blake Halverson, 37, was taken into custody by South Dakota authorities and the suspect, Halverson is currently in custody at the Pine County jail. The total seized weight of the narcotics was approximately 70 pounds as well as $25,421 in U.S. currency.
After his arrest in South Dakota, Justin Halverson, which is Ronald Halverson’s son, agreed to cooperate with law enforcement, according to the statement of probable cause. Justin Halverson told authorities he was on his way to deliver marijuana to his father’s home on Long Lake Road in Willow River.
Justin Halverson told an agent with the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) that, since May of this year, he had made several trips to Arizona to purchase for his father. After his arrest, authorities allowed Halverson to continue home to complete the drug deal, court documents say. The younger Halverson was wired and monitored during the transaction.
South Dakota authorities kept three pounds of the marijuana, the report says, which Justin Halverson told his father was given to a friend in the Twin Cities to sell.
Justin Halverson was given $5,000 for the delivery from Arizona to Willow River, the report said.
When Ronald Halverson left his residence, he was arrested by law enforcement. A search warrant was then executed and the marijuana, cash and numerous cell phones were confiscated.