Bakersfield Trio Pleads Not Guilty In ND Meth Case

Three family members from Bakersfield, Calif., have pleaded not guilty to charges of supplying methamphetamine to buyers in North Dakota and Minnesota.

Henry Paredez Jr. and his wife, Ariana Paredez, are charged in federal court in Fargo with three counts, including conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute a controlled substance. Henry Paredez Sr. is charged with one count of money laundering. U.S. Magistrate Judge Karen Klein on Wednesday set trial for Jan. 24.

U.S. Attorney Timothy Purdon of North Dakota and public defenders in the case declined comment.

The indictment alleges the conspiracy involved more than 500 grams of meth. Authorities claim Henry Paredez Jr. was the supervisor of the operation, which allegedly moved meth into North Dakota through various packing and shipping companies.

Members of the conspiracy allegedly deposited and withdrew money from various bank accounts and also wired money from North Dakota and Minnesota to California.

Klein released the three defendants on bond that was originally established in California, after a probation officer testified they had complied with all release conditions. Bond was set at $100,000 for Henry Paredez Jr. and $20,000 for Ariana Paredez. Henry Paredez Sr. was released on his promise to appear at all court proceedings.

Henry Paredez Sr. faces a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison. The conspiracy charge against the Paredez couple carries a minimum mandatory 10-year sentence and a maximum term of life.

Documents from the Bakersfield Police Department show the three defendants were originally arrested on May 27 in Bakersfield. Police seized meth, handguns, assault rifles, three vehicles and about $36,000 in cash.

Police said Henry Paredez Jr. and his wife were arrested on suspicion of possession for sales of meth, maintaining a residence for purpose of drug sales, conspiracy and child endangerment. Henry Paredez Sr. was arrested on suspicion of possession of stolen guns and removing a serial number from a gun.

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