A Milwaukee man who was released from federal prison in June for a conviction related to sex trafficking was ordered Monday to serve 3.5 years in state prison for conspiring to deliver heroin in Bismarck.
Levell Lee Durr, 36, pleaded guilty in Burleigh County District Court to a Class B felony, admitting he conspired to deliver about an ounce of heroin from Milwaukee to a buyer in Bismarck on Oct. 31.
Durr’s federal conviction, which involved bringing women from Milwaukee to North Dakota to engage in prostitution, was not mentioned during Monday’s hearing.
According to Burleigh County court records, a Drug Enforcement Administration agent had a federal warrant to search Durr and his vehicle. Authorities stopped Durr on Oct. 31 on Interstate 94 in Burleigh County in a vehicle driven by a woman.
The woman turned over to officers a condom she had hidden in her underwear that contained 27 grams of heroin. Durr told the agent he directed the woman to conceal the heroin, court records say.
Derek Steiner, assistant Burleigh County state’s attorney, said that quantity of heroin is equivalent to 250 to 300 hits of heroin.
Steiner recommended Durr serve five years in prison, with another five years suspended, citing the quantity of heroin involved as well as a previous drug conviction from Wisconsin.
Steiner did not mention during the hearing that Durr was only months earlier released from federal prison for a conviction of coercion and enticement in U.S. District Court.
In that case, Durr pleaded guilty in 2014 in a Bismarck courtroom to encouraging two women to travel to North Dakota to engage in prostitution. He admitted in court he helped women place escort ads on Backpage.com and profited from the commercial sex acts in 2014 in Minot.
Federal court records say a victim told investigators Durr held women against their will and forced them to use heroin to keep them compliant. Durr denied drugging the women or using force or coercion.
Steiner said after the hearing that he was aware of the federal conviction.
“I just didn’t mention it,” said Steiner, declining to elaborate.
Defense attorney James Loraas recommended Durr serve two years in prison, emphasizing that his client has taken responsibility for his actions and cooperated with investigators.
Durr said during the hearing that he wants to do his time and get back to his two children.
South Central Judicial District Judge David Reich sentenced Durr to 3.5 years in prison, with 6.5 years suspended, as well as three years of supervised release.
Durr is a high-risk sex offender as a result of the federal conviction and required to register for life. He is no longer on supervised release for the federal conviction.