The last of four people charged in a beating and robbery at a Mandan car wash last year has been sentenced to more than nine years in federal prison.
Michael Todd Baker, 29, of Mandan, and two other men -- Justyce Houle, of Bismarck, and Vegas Morin, of Mandan -- were accused of luring a man to the Turbo Car Wash in April 2020, beating him, and taking his wallet and $300. They had allegedly plotted to rob the man of his illegal drugs and drug sale money.
The three suspects initially were charged in state court, but their cases eventually were moved to federal court under the Hobbs Act, which prohibits robbery that affects interstate or foreign commerce -- even if that commerce is illegal. Then-U.S. Attorney Drew Wrigley said at the time that “If a drug dealer robs another drug dealer, that is deemed to be covered by this federal statute.”
Baker earlier this year reached an agreement with prosecutors under which he pleaded guilty to robbery under the Hobbs Act and possession of an illegal firearm -- a short-barreled shotgun, according to court documents. Two other firearms charges were dismissed. Baker's attorney, Ryan Sandberg, said in court documents that the shotgun was not loaded, though he added "this is not an excuse."
U.S. District Judge Daniel Traynor on Tuesday sentenced Baker to serve 110 months in federal prison -- nine years and two months. Baker will be on supervised release for three years following his prison time.
Sandberg declined comment to the Tribune. He said in a court document filed before sentencing that a lengthy prison term would allow time for his client to undergo treatment for drug addiction -- something Traynor recommended on Tuesday.
Sandberg in the document said that Baker "has a serious drug addiction to methamphetamine, marijuana and heroin."
Houle also pleaded guilty to a Hobbs Act robbery and was sentenced in April to two years in prison and three years on supervised release.
Morin pleaded guilty to robbery and firearms charges and was sentenced in May to seven years and nine months in prison, along with three years of supervised release.
A fourth person arrested in the incident, Summer LeBeau, of Fort Yates, pleaded guilty in state court last August to a drug conspiracy felony and was placed on supervised probation for two years.
Reach Blake Nicholson at 701-250-8266 or email@example.com.