Detroit man sentenced for role in fentanyl trafficking in northern Minnesota

A Detroit, Mich., man was recently sentenced for his role in a fentanyl trafficking operation based in Bemidji that targeted the Red Lake Nation.

According to the U.S. Attorney’s Office, 34-year-old Scot Watkins, Jr., conspired with others to distribute fentanyl pills, methamphetamine, and cocaine to individuals from the Red Lake Reservation.

Court documents say Watkins and co-defendants 32-year-old Douglas McClendon and 41-year-old Christopher Richard obtained the drugs from suppliers in Detroit, then traveled to Bemidji to sell the drugs.

On March 12, 2021, law enforcement executed a search warrant at a Bemidji hotel, where agents seized 174 grams of fentanyl, 37 grams of methamphetamine, and other controlled substances.

As law enforcement entered the room, Watkins and McClendon fled while Richard flushed a significant amount of fentanyl down a toilet.

Watkins was sentenced to five years in federal prison followed by four years of supervised release.

McClendon and Richard were similarly sentenced earlier this year.

Larissa Donovan was the News Director for the stations of Paul Bunyan Broadcasting and has been, almost without interruption, since Election Day 2016, through July 2023. She covered all the beats in north-central Minnesota, such as local government, crime, education, environment and social issues. She studied communications at Bemidji State University. You can follow along with Larissa's live tweets of meetings and events on Twitter!

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