Two more men were recently sentenced in a federal case that involved marijuana grown in Humboldt County. The LoCO has been following the case since July 2012 when a series of Homeland Security raids rippled across our area.

Sean McFarland and Samuel Pfeifle, both of South Dakota, were sentenced January 27 on federal charges of distributing marijuana. That marijuana was grown in Humboldt County. McFarland’s brother Brett and Pfeifle’s sister Georgia were convicted on related charges, as were fellow defendants Jaymar Adams, Brandon Newell and Travis Jellis. 

“I am a prisoner of war in this nation’s failing war on drugs,” wrote McFarland on the page for his newly released album. He and Pfeifle were each sentenced to five years in a federal prison (with no parole) for their role in distributing hundreds of pounds of marijuana. (See press release below.) That sentence is the federal minimum for their crime.

McFarland, a well-known musician in his South Dakota community, said in an interview with the Argus Leader that he came to our area,

because I could find my medicine out there. Somewhere along the way, due to some regrettable decisions on my part, my actions garnered the attention of the federal government. I was arrested and extradited to South Dakota. I’ve never been to jail before. I’ve never had a DWI. I got a speeding ticket when I was 19. That’s it.  

Songs on the album reflect McFarland’s experiences. A notable one is “I ain’t that.”

McFarland’s brother Brett has also released an album.

In this case, 

Georgia Pfeifle was sentenced to six months in prison,

Brandon Newell is serving 37 months,

Travis Jellis is serving 5 months,

Jaymar Adams and Brett McFarland are scheduled to be sentenced on February 24.

US Department of Justice Press Release:

United States Attorney Brendan V. Johnson announced that two men convicted of Conspiracy to Distribute a Controlled Substance were sentenced on January 27, 2014, by U.S. District Judge Karen E. Schreier. 

Samuel Joseph Pfeifle, age 27, of Sioux Falls, South Dakota, and Sean Michael McFarland, age 33, of Vermillion, South Dakota, were both sentenced to 60 months in prison, to be followed by 4 years of supervised release.

The United States obtained money judgments against both men ($80,000 as to Pfeifle and $100,000 as to McFarland) as forfeiture of money or property they acquired as a result of their illegal activities.  

The men were indicted on September 10, 2013, for conspiracy to distribute more than 100 kilograms of marijuana.  McFarland pled guilty on October 30, 2013, and Pfeifle pled guilty on November 7, 2013.

The men joined a conspiracy to illegally distribute marijuana in South Dakota and elsewhere.  During their involvement, the men grew, harvested, and obtained marijuana, illegally distributed it, caused it to be illegally delivered and distributed, paid others for it, and received payments for it. 

This case was investigated by the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) in both South Dakota and California, and the Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigations.  Assistant U.S. Attorney Connie Larson prosecuted the case.

Both men were remanded to the custody of the U.S. Marshals Service.