United States Attorney Ron Parsons announced that a Sioux Falls, South Dakota, man and a Phoenix, Arizona, man convicted of Conspiracy to Distribute a Controlled Substance were sentenced on May 18, 2020, and August 26, 2020 respectively, by U.S. District Judge Karen E. Schreier.
Marcus Anthony Durrani, age 21, was sentenced to 108 months in federal prison, followed by 5 years of supervised release, and a special assessment to the Federal Crime Victims Fund in the amount of $100.
Steven Wayne Knecht, age 47, was sentenced to 57 months in federal prison, followed by 3 years of supervised release, and a special assessment to the Federal Crime Victims Fund in the amount of $100.
Durrani and Knecht were indicted by a federal grand jury on July 9, 2019. Durrani pled guilty on February 24, 2020, and Knecht pled guilty on June 3, 2020.
The conviction stemmed from incidents beginning on an unknown date and continuing until approximately May 5, 2019, when both Durrani and Knecht reached an agreement or came to an understanding to distribute 500 grams or more of methamphetamine in the District of South Dakota. Methamphetamine is a Scheduled II controlled substance. They voluntarily joined in the agreement and knew the purpose of the understanding.
Durrani would receive methamphetamine from a co-conspirator in South Dakota and he would then re-distribute it to other co-conspirators for sale to their own customers. Durrani was aware that that methamphetamine would be resold.
Knecht drove a vehicle that contained approximately 50 pounds to methamphetamine to a co-conspirator in Sioux Falls at the direction of others. Knecht did not ask, but was aware that he was assisting co-conspirators in the distribution of a controlled substance.
This case was investigated by the Drug Enforcement Administration, South Dakota Division of Criminal Investigation, Sioux Falls Police Department, South Dakota Highway Patrol, Iowa State Patrol, and the State of Iowa Department of Public Safety. Assistant U.S. Attorney Jennifer D. Mammenga prosecuted the case.
Durrani and Knecht were immediately turned over to the custody of the U.S. Marshals Service.