BEMIDJI – For the theft of more than a dozen guns nearly three years ago, a Red Lake man received a lighter-than-expected sentence Monday.
Lee Sean Fier, 22, will serve nine months in the Beltrami County Jail for the 2010 theft of several rifles and shotguns from Bluewater Bait and Sports, 136 Peaceful Meadow Lane. The jail time was a departure from normal sentencing guidelines, which stipulate a penalty of four years to be served at the St. Cloud Correctional Facility. That sentence was stayed for 20 years by Beltrami District Judge Shari Schlucter, effectively placing Fier on probation for that period of time.
According to court papers, Fier cooperated with prosecutors and an agent with the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms.
“He was very cooperative,” Assistant County Attorney Dave Frank said. “He gave a firearm back, and when I took the plea, identified his co-defendants.”
One of those defendants, 22-year-old Dustin Reginald Barrett, is in custody. Two other men were with Barrett and Fier on the night of the crime – July 27, 2010 – but their whereabouts remain unknown.
The group used a car jack to smash through the glass front door of the building. Once inside, they took a .223 caliber rifle, a 50 caliber rifle, two 12-gauge shotguns and several other weapons, court papers state.
Fier, in open testimony last month, said he wasn’t sure how many weapons the men took that night.
The criminal complaint filed by the Beltrami County Attorney’s Office reported 12 to 15 weapons were stolen. Following the burglary, the men took the weapons to Red Lake, where they sold or gave them away.
The case, because it involved the sovereign jurisdiction of the Red Lake Reservation, and the transfer of firearms, was originally handed to the U.S. Attorney’s Office in St. Paul. There, it languished for more than a year before being handed over to prosecutors in Beltrami County.
Barrett was brought into custody recently for his role in the Bluewater burglary. Barrett, of Red Lake, was arrested following another alleged burglary on Feb. 14 at a home in rural Beltrami County. He gave police a false name before they identified him, and arrested him on a warrant for the Bluewater burglary. He was subsequently arraigned on a charge of felony second-degree burglary for the February theft of power tools from the home.
Barrett will appear in court on April 8.