ICE HSI, local police investigation leads to 6-year sentence for North Dakota man

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FARGO – An eastern North Dakota man was sentenced in federal court Tuesday to 72 months in prison for his role in a string of violent robberies in the summer of 2019.

The matter was investigation by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) and the Fargo (North Dakota) Police Department.

Zachary Ronzell Mitchell, 30, of Fargo, was sentenced before U.S. District Court Chief Judge Peter D. Welte, to 72 months in federal prison on a federal charge of interfering with commerce by threats and violence, more commonly known as a Hobbs Act robbery. Chief Judge Welte also sentenced Mitchell to three years supervised release and a $100 Special Assessment.

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In 2019, Mitchell’s co-defendants posted an advertisement on “Skip the Games” promoting prostitution with adult women. On June 6, 2019, Mitchell and a group of young males and one female robbed a customer of commercial sex. The victim arranged to meet an individual for the purpose of commercial sex at an apartment building in Fargo.

Using dangerous weapons, Mitchell and his co-defendants robbed the commercial sex customer by threats of force, and actual force, after he arrived at the apartment building. The defendants sought to take advantage of the victim, whom they believed would be unwilling to go to law enforcement if he was robbed. However, the victim called 911 immediately following the robbery. Several of Mitchell’s co-defendants were indicted in North Dakota and have previously pleaded guilty. They are all residents of Fargo and are as follows:

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The case was prosecuted by the United States Attorney’s office, with Assistant United States Attorney Jennifer Puhl assigned to the case.

HSI is a directorate of ICE and the principal investigative arm of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, responsible for investigating transnational crime and threats, specifically those criminal organizations that exploit the global infrastructure through which international trade, travel, and finance move. HSI’s workforce of over 10,400 employees consists of more than 7,100 special agents assigned to 220 cities throughout the United States, and 80 overseas locations in 53 countries. HSI’s international presence represents DHS’s largest investigative law enforcement presence abroad and one of the largest international footprints in U.S. law enforcement.

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