As the end of the year approaches, Patch recaps the biggest stories of 2012—both in terms of pageviews and impact on the Mendota Heights community. The original article posted on April 27, 2012. A followup posted on July 11, 2012.
Other Story of the Year posts:
• No. 7 Story of the Year: Tornado Touches Down in Mendota Heights• No. 8 Story of the Year: BC2 Artisan Bakery Rises Again in Mendota Heights
• No. 9 Story of the Year: Mendota Heights Deer Hunter Finds 8-Foot Marijuana Plants in Valley Park
• No. 10 Story of the Year: Dodge Nature Center Says Goodbye to Bald Eagle
ORIGINAL ARTICLE: A Mendota Heights man has been indicted by a grand jury on charges of distributing methamphetamine in relation to an investigation of white supremacist activity and possible violence.
Joseph Benjamin Thomas, 42, was charged April 16 by the U.S. Attorney’s Office with one count of possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine, two counts of distribution of five or more grams of methamphetamine, and one count of distribution of 50 or more grams of methamphetamine.
According to a report by the Associated Press, Thomas said he tried to get weapons to use against "left-wing individuals."
An accused accomplice, 31-year-old Samuel Johnson of Austin, was indicted on weapons charges. The AP also reports Johnson is a former leader of the National Socialist Movement.
An indictment is a decision by a grand jury that there is probable cause a crime was committed.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office alleges that Thomas distributed five or more grams of meth on both Feb. 15 and Feb 29, 2012, and more than 50 grams of meth on March 13.
Thomas is expected in court April 25.
Several agencies were involved in the investigation, including the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Joint Terrorism Task Force; the United States Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives; the University of Minnesota Police Department and the Fairmount, Minneapolis and St. Paul Police Department.
FOLLOWUP ARTICLE: A Mendota Heights man pleaded guilty Wednesday to possession with intent to distribute more than 50 grams of high-purity methamphetamine in a case related to a federal investigation of white supremacist activity.
Joseph Benjamin Thomas, 42, and an accused accomplice, Samuel Johnson of Austin, 31, were indicted in April. Johnson was indicted on weapons charges.
In a federal affidavit, Thomas allegedly told an undercover FBI agent that he considered himself a "domestic terrorist," according to the Associated Press.
Thomas faces a potential maximum penalty of life in prison without parole.
A sentencing date has not been set. To receive updates, sign up for our daily newsletter.
• Mendota Heights Man Says He's a 'Domestic Terrorist
• Mendota Heights Man with Alleged White Supremacist Connections Indicted on Drug Charges
• White supremacist Sam Johnson, subject of 2009 BSP interview, named in federal affidavit (Bluestem Prairie)
• Affidavit: 2 men with supremacist ties had weapons
• APNewsBreak: Minn. man targeted Mexican consulate (Huffington Post)