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Man Sentenced to More Than 17 Years - Valley News Live - KVLY/KXJB - Fargo/Grand Forks

Man Sentenced to More Than 17 Years in Synthetic Drug Conspiracy

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One of the men accused of being involved in a drug conspiracy will serve 17 ½ years in prison. On Monday, First Assistant U.S. Attorney Chris Myers announced that Andrew Michael Spofford, a 23-year-old from Fargo, North Dakota, was sentenced before U.S. District Judge Ralph R. Erickson for his involvement in "Operation Stolen Youth." 

In October 2012, Spofford pleaded guilty to one count each of; conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute and distribute controlled substances and controlled substance analogues resulting in serious bodily injury and death, possession of an analogue controlled substance with intent to distribute and distribution resulting in death, distribution of an analogue controlled substance resulting in serious bodily injury, possession of an analogue controlled substance with intent to distribute resulting in death, and causing the introduction into interstate commerce of a misbranded drug. 

Spofford's mother, Victoria Spofford, started by expressing her sympathy to the Bjerks and added that she can't imagine their pain. But she said they painted a picture of her son that wasn't true. "He would never, ever intentionally hurt someone, this is all so crazy."

Spofford's father, David Spofford, said his son made bad choices but wasn't alone in this case. He said he didn't mean to be disrespectful to any of the victims but wondered out loud if there wasn't a "little bit of responsibility on the other side of the aisle."

David Spofford ended with quotes from two former presidents and a U.S. Supreme Court justice all questioning federal mandatory minimum sentences for first-time and nonviolent offenders.

Police say 18-year-old Christian Bjerk, of Grand Forks, and 17-year-old Elijah Stai, of Park Rapids, died of apparent drug overdoses from the hallucinogens. Authorities say at least five others were hospitalized with overdoses.
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