MINNEAPOLIS—Earlier today in federal court, a 49-year-old Red Lake man pleaded guilty to possessing with intent to distribute more than 2.5 kilograms of marijuana as well as possessing a firearm in support of drug trafficking. Keith Brian Donnell pleaded guilty to one count of possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking offense and one count of possession with intent to distribute marijuana. Donnell, who was indicted on November 22, 2011, entered his plea before United States District Court Chief Judge Michael J. Davis.
In his plea agreement, Donnell admitted that on April 14, 2011, he possessed with intent to distribute more than two kilograms of marijuana. The marijuana was found during the execution of a search warrant at his residence. Officers found it packaged as five separate bricks. In addition, police found five firearms in the residence, including a .22-caliber rifle, and $12,622 in cash. Donnell admitted that he possessed the firearm for protection because of the inherent danger associated with selling marijuana.
For his crimes, Donnell faces a potential maximum penalty of life in prison on the firearm possession count and five years on the marijuana count. The firearm possession charge carries a mandatory minimum penalty of five years. Judge Davis will determine his sentence at a future hearing. This case is the result of an investigation by the Safe Trails and Paul Bunyan Drug task forces, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Red Lake Tribal Police Department, and the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives. It is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Deidre Y. Aanstad.