MINNEAPOLIS—Earlier today in federal court, a 42-year-old Mendota Heights man pleaded guilty to possession with intent to distribute more than 50 grams of high-purity methamphetamine. Joseph Benjamin Thomas pleaded guilty to one count of possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine in violation of federal law. Thomas, who was indicted on April 16, 2012, entered his plea before United States District Court Chief Judge Michael J. Davis.
In his plea agreement, Thomas admitted that between February 1 and April 16, 2012, he possessed with intent to distribute in excess of 50 grams of methamphetamine. For his crime, Thomas faces a potential maximum penalty of life in prison. And because the federal system does not have parole, offenders serve virtually their entire sentences behind bars. Judge Davis will determine his exact sentence at a future hearing, not yet scheduled.
This case is the result of an investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Joint Terrorism Task Force, which includes the United States Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives; U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations; the University of Minnesota Police Department; the Minneapolis Police Department; and the St. Paul Police Department; with significant assistance from the Fairmont Police Department and the Minnesota Department of Corrections. It is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Andrew R. Winter.