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Gambino Sentenced for Selling Cops 89 Grams of Meth in West St. Paul

Under a plea agreement, Niko Gambino will serve 13 years in federal prison.

Editor's note: The following is a press release from the U.S. Attorney's Office.

MINNEAPOLIS—Yesterday in federal court, a 48-year-old Red Lake man was sentenced for his role in a methamphetamine distribution ring. United States District Judge Susan R. Nelson sentenced Terry Lee Branchaud, also known as Niko Vinnie Gambino, to 156 months in federal prison on one count of aiding and abetting the distribution of five grams or more of actual methamphetamine. Branchaud, who was indicted on April 12, 2011 along with three co-defendants, pleaded guilty on January 30, 2012.

In his plea agreement, Branchaud acknowledged that from February 25, 2010, through March 9, 2010, he conspired with others to distribute methamphetamine. Over the course of three transactions on February 25, 2010, March 3, 2010, and March 9, 2010, Branchaud and his co-defendant, Clayton Clarence Reiger, distributed a total of 88.8 grams of methamphetamine to an undercover officer in West Saint Paul for $6,750.

On August 11, 2011, Reiger pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine. Judge Nelson sentenced him to 168 months in federal prison. On July 15, 2011, Terrence Wayne Vadnais, another co-defendant, also pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine. He was sentenced to 120 months in federal prison.

Lastly, on October 25, 2011, co-defendant Esteban Penazola Martinez pleaded guilty to conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine. Judge Nelson sentenced him to 235 months in federal prison.

This case was the result of an investigation by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration and the Hennepin County Sheriff’s Office. It was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Thomas M. Hollenhorst. To learn more about the harmful effects of methamphetamine, visit http://www.justice.gov/dea/concern/meth.html.

Janel Cragoe March 20, 2013 at 06:41 AM
Seems like an awful lot of time for just conspiring to sell meth. May as well have manufactured it or committed some type of violent crime for that amount of time. Child molesters, rapists, and other predatory crimes get far, far less time than that. I'm not saying there isn't an epidemic out there with meth, because there is. I just feel the system is flawed in many ways. Drug crimes need more rehabilitative approaches, as opposed to jail/prison time. It's a disease.

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