Staff Directory 298000161

Stephen Montemayor

Reporter | U.S. District Court and federal agencies
Phone: 612-673-1755
Location: Minneapolis
Other languages: None

Stephen Montemayor covers federal court and law enforcement in Minnesota. He has broken stories on terrorism recruitment and domestic extremism and has also reported extensively on how Mexican drug cartels have designated the Twin Cities as a key hub for methamphetamine trafficking in the Upper Midwest.


A native of Kansas City, Montemayor lives in Minneapolis with his wife and two cats. He graduated from the University of Kansas with a degree in journalism and enjoys camping, travel and a good beer.
Recent content from Stephen Montemayor

Feds charge former Hennepin County employee, husband with defrauding public assistance programs

Couple charged with conspiracy, multiple fraud counts after failing to disclose relationship in filing for benefits.
U.S. Rep.-electIlhan Omar, flanked by family, delivered her victory speech on Election Day.

Rep.-elect Ilhan Omar's statements on Israel return to spotlight

Local Jewish leaders say recent remarks contradict comments before election.
Law enforcement officials investigated an explosion at the Dar Al-Farooq Islamic Center in Bloomington on Aug. 5, 2017.

Minnesota reports rise in hate crimes, too

Reports in the state during 2017 increased more than 22 percent, rising from 119 in 2016 to 146.

NHL, retired players reach $19M concussion settlement in case overseen by Minnesota federal judge

Retired players with head injuries would share $19M.
U.S. Senate candidate Karin Housley gave her concession speech Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2018, in Bloomington, Minn. Housley and other statewide GOP candidates

Republicans puzzle over how to break Minn. losing streak

Central to the state GOP's effort will be fielding candidates who can appeal to both its rural base while winning back the suburban voters who propelled DFL gains in this week's midterm election.
Rep. Keith Ellison addressed supporters after winning the attorney general race Tuesday night at the DFL headquarters election night party at the Inte

Ellison outlines transition for attorney general's office, hires chief of staff

Congressman's chief of staff to assume the same role at State Capitol.
Ilhan Omar poses for a selfies with supporters after her victory Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2018, in Minneapolis. Omar is poised to become the first Somali-Amer

Midterm election full of firsts for Minnesota

First former refugee sent to Congress. First openly gay U.S. House member from Minnesota. First Muslim elected to a statewide office in Minnesota. First American Indian elected lieutenant governor nationwide. Minnesota voters ushered in a wave of firsts Tuesday.
Attorney General-elect Keith Ellison shook a supporters hand after giving his acceptance speech at the DFL headquarters election party Tuesday night.

Ellison elected Minnesota attorney general after hotly contested race with Wardlow

DFLers Steve Simon, Julie Blaha complete sweep of state offices
FILE - This combination of file photos shows the candidates for Minnesota attorney general in the November 2018 election from left, Democratic U.S. Re

Minn. attorney general race gets cameos from prominent DFLers, Pence

Doug Wardlow greeted Vice President Mike Pence at the Twin Cities airport Saturday as Keith Ellison and his supporters made their final pitch at the Capitol in St. Paul.
Keith Ellison and former Vice President Walter Mondale talked with former Minnesota Attorney General Hubert Humphrey III and former Supreme Court Just

Minn. attorney general race ramps up via attacks, proxies

Doug Wardlow has largely left fight up to surrogates this week, while Keith Ellison assembled former Democratic attorneys general to make his case.
FILE - This combination of file photos shows the candidates for Minnesota attorney general from left, Democratic U.S. Rep. Keith Ellison and Republica

Wardlow rips Ellison for past links; Ellison hits Wardlow on guns

U.S. Rep. Keith Ellison hit his Republican opponent for attorney general, Doug Wardlow, on Wednesday for shifting his stance on background checks for gun sales, and Wardlow lobbed a new ad digging into Ellison's past links to controversial figures.
Ilhan Omar was interviewed at the Twin Cities Film Fest at the West End theater in St. Louis Park before the screening of "A Time for Ilhan," a film b

On the edge of making history, Ilhan Omar confronts fresh scrutiny

As she campaigns for U.S. House, Omar is defending herself against a handful of recurrent controversies, including her marriage and immigration history.
The president has called illegal immigration a “national emergency” and is planning to send active-duty troops to the Mexican border, officials sa

Poll: Minnesotans object to Trump immigration policies, split on refugees

Support among Minnesotans for Trump's immigration policies hewed closely along party lines.
DFL state Rep. Ilhan Omar and Republican Jen Zielinski met in their only debate of the campaign for the Fifth District U.S. House seat with Minnesota

Ilhan Omar, Jennifer Zielinski clash in lone debate for Fifth District

President Trump, health care were among the issues the two discussed.
FILE - In this Aug. 17, 2017, file photo, U.S. Rep. Keith Ellison, a candidate for Minnesota attorney general, addresses campaign volunteers and suppo

Keith Ellison divorce file shows no abuse allegation against him

The DFL candidate for attorney general and ex-wife opposed effort to unseal divorce records.
Angel and Carl Larsen, owners and founders of Telescope Media Group, stand in front of family and friends outside the Federal Courthouse in Saint Paul

St. Cloud couple's bid to deny wedding videography to gay couples is argued before appeals court

Telescope Media case seen as a potential U.S. Supreme Court challenge.
Minnesota House candidate says he was attacked at Benton County restaurant

Minnesota House candidate says he was attacked at Benton County restaurant

Shane Mekeland believes it was politically motivated.
Justice Margaret Chutich, left, faces challenger Michelle MacDonald in Minnesota’s only contested Supreme Court race.

Repeat candidate stirs up state's only contested Supreme Court race

Dayton appointee Margaret Chutich faces attorney with a history of legal problems.
FILE - In this Aug. 17, 2017, file photo, U.S. Rep. Keith Ellison addresses campaign volunteers and supporters in Minneapolis. (Alex Kormann /Star Tri

Ruling: Keith Ellison's divorce file to be unsealed next week

Hennepin County Family Court referee agrees to request for Ellison's divorce file from Star Tribune, Alpha News, orders file to be unsealed on Oct. 17.
U.S. Rep. Keith Ellison, left, and Doug Wardlow are the major-party candidates for Minnesota attorney general.

Wardlow takes aim at Ellison, domestic abuse allegation in new TV ad

"If I can be perfectly candid, it's really the press that wants to talk about that," Ellison told reporters at a labor roundtable in Rochester.
Rep. Keith Ellison

Family court referee wants to decide on access to Keith Ellison divorce files by Friday

Star Tribune, Alpha News seeking to unseal records of 2012 divorce.
State Rep. Ilhan Omar, DFL- Minneapolis.

GOP lawmaker makes new complaint against Rep. Ilhan Omar

Republican lawmaker now says Omar used campaign money for travel to Estonia, Boston.

Rosemount educator on leave after tweeting 'kill Kavanaugh?'

The FBI in Minneapolis confirmed it is aware of tweet, which has since been deleted.
This photo provided by the Cannon River Drug and Violent Task Force shows a box containing methamphetamine. Authorities said Friday, Sept. 14, 2018 th

Federal charges filed related to historic 191-pound meth bust in Minneapolis last month

Feds share new details of probe of alleged drug conspiracy linked to Mexico, Kansas City.
U.S. Rep. Keith Ellison is a candidate for Minnesota attorney general.

Attorney for Keith Ellison asks judge to privately review divorce file

Ellison's attorney suggested that the judge privately review the file and unseal any records that refer to allegations of abuse.
President Donald Trump makes his second visit to Minnesota, with a rally on Thursday night at Mayo Civic Center in Rochester.

Trump calls on Rochester rally to turn Minnesota to red state

In a wide-ranging speech in front of a capacity crowd at Mayo Civic Center, President Donald Trump touted his achievement along with Minnesota GOP hopefuls. The rally also drew a large group of protesters.
U.S. Rep. Keith Ellison on June 17, 2018, in Minneapolis. (Craig Lassig/Zuma Press/TNS)

Citing conflict, Minneapolis police won't look into claim against Keith Ellison

A statement said the department would seek to refer the case elsewhere.
A Minnesota Court of Appeals seat is being challenged on ballot for first time since 2010: Judge Lucinda Jesson, left, is facing St. Paul attorney Ant

Minnesota Court of Appeals seat is among this year's few contested judicial races

Lucinda Jesson, one-time human services commissioner, defends her seat against St. Paul attorney Anthony L. Brown.
Rep. Keith Ellison

Dakota County attorney won't take up Ellison case, urges police investigation

Minneapolis City Attorney Susan Segal forwarded the DFL Party's report to Dakota County Attorney James Backstrom to avoid a conflict of interest. Backstrom said he would review only findings by law enforcement.
Rep. Keith Ellison addresses campaign volunteers on Aug. 17, 2018 in Minneapolis.

Attorney hired by DFL: Ellison abuse claim unsubstantiated

The Minnesota DFL says it will forward an internal report on a domestic abuse claim against Keith Ellison, the Democratic candidate for attorney general, to local law enforcement for further investigation, after an investigator hired by the party found the claim could not be substantiated.
State Rep. Ilhan Omar in “A Time for Ilhan.”

Lawmaker questions incentive given to 'A Time For Ilhan' filmmakers

Film and TV Board says filmmakers were transparent in pursuit of rebate last year.
A screengrab of Troy Walker from a promotional video posted on YouTube.

Norwood Young America couple's military funeral fundraiser under a federal fraud probe

Dog Tag Furniture founders suspected of padding pockets, not financing funerals.
Barton Scott

Federal charges: 35-year-old sex offender produced child porn, hacked 25 Snapchat accounts

Barton George Scott, now in custody, allegedly tried to extort minors through the social app.
About two months after taking office, new U.S. Attorney Erica MacDonald’s priorities for Minnesota are coming into clearer view with the formation o

New approaches to counterextremism, Indian communities among priorities of Minnesota's U.S. attorney

U.S. Attorney Erica MacDonald outlined her priorities as she settles in as the state's top federal law enforcement official.
Peteris Sahurovs

Latvian hacker who targeted Star Tribune website visitors sentenced to 33 months in federal prison

Malware virus planted on Star Tribune website led to international manhunt.
Farass Adnan Ali (Facebook)

Rochester man challenging ICE detention

Former elite military member has been jailed for 16 months, but no charges have been filed.
Eric Tostrud

Minneapolis lawyer, professor Eric Tostrud confirmed as Minnesota's latest federal judge

Tostrud will give Minnesota's federal bench the first complete set of full-time judges since 2016.
Judy Garland's stolen ruby slippers were recovered in a sting operation earlier this summer after disappearing 13 years ago from the Judy Garland Muse

The famed ruby slippers are home, but the culprit is still out there

The slippers were found in Minneapolis, a year after a credible tip to police.
A deal brokered by U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar (left) has judges Nancy Brasel and Eric Tostrud in line to sit on Minnesota's federal bench.

Rare deal has Minn. court on verge of filling two vacant seats

A deal to fast-track votes on a batch of Trump's federal district court nominees has Hennepin County Judge Nancy Brasel and Minneapolis lawyer and law professor Eric Tostrud poised to help fill a pair of vacancies that had been deemed "judicial emergencies."

FBI: Robbery crew made off with at least $69,000 in pills from Twin Cities Walgreen

Feds arrested Indianapolis man linked to monthlong robbery spree last week. Status of other suspects unclear.

Chicago man found bound in St. Paul faked abduction to gain citizenship, FBI says

Alejandro Mario Cortes allegedly sought to get a visa for being a crime victim.

Excelsior renewable energy business owner convicted of $13M fraud scheme

Prosecutors had charged Shawn Robert Dooling with defrauding more than 70 customers.
FILE - In this Nov. 2, 2016 file photo, protesters demonstrating against the expansion of the Dakota Access Pipeline wade in cold creek waters confron

Dakota Access protester hurt by blast loses bid to retrieve seized items from FBI

FBI agents described probe of Sophia Wilansky's injury as still ongoing.
ATF agent Nic Garlie gave some love to his dogs Brock, left, and Taylor at the end of a training session.

New ATF bomb dog in St. Paul got its start from behind bars

Taylor joined ATF after being raised in "Puppies Behind Bars" program.
Bob Ivers

Former Hopkins mayoral candidate awaiting trial after alleged threat to kill federal judge

Robert Phillip Ivers, 65, alarmed residents after using racist language at candidate forum last year.
Rep. Keith Ellison spoke Friday about the domestic abuse allegations that were brought against him.

DFL leaders endorse Ellison for Minnesota attorney general

In a speech to a packed auditorium of delegates in Cambridge, Ellison again denied abusing ex-girlfriend Karen Monahan.

Former U.S. probation officer at center of sex abuse allegations indicted over lying to FBI

Three women came forward against Dennis Edward Bresnahan, charged with lying and destroying evidence during FBI's 2016 probe.
Chad Monson

Willmar man pleads guilty to illegal weapons possession after bombs, machine guns found on property

Attorney for Chad Lee Monson said talk of bomb threats was "blown out of proportion."
After a nearly two-year vacancy, Mona Dohman, Minnesota’s public safety commissioner, ahs been nominated to be the next U.S. marshal for the distric

Trump picks Minnesota's public safety commissioner for U.S. marshal

Position in the agency's Minnesota office has been open since 2016.
Macrina Perez

Young meth cell ringleader linked to record Minnesota bust pleads guilty

Prosecutors described Macrina Perez, 25, as being "as connected to Mexican drug cartels" as anyone ever charged in the state.
Janette Hansen Strathy

Janette Hansen Strathy, physician and women's health advocate, dies at 62

Janette Hansen Strathy had delivered at least 6,500 babies over more than 30 years at the Park Nicollet Medical Center. But when asked to describe…
Tom Petters is introduced by President of Petters Aviation at an event in 2008.

DOJ: More than $16M makes its way to Petters' fraud victims

More than $16 million seized in connection with Tom Petters' massive Ponzi scheme is now being returned to hundreds of victims around the world, the U.S. Justice Department announced Monday.
Defendants in the Minneapolis ISIS trial are, from left, Abdirahman Yasin Daud, Mohamed Farah, Guled Omar

Appeals court upholds sentences for three Twin Cities men in ISIS case

Mohamed Farah, Abdirahman Daud and Guled Ali Omar were the only 3 of 9 defendants to stand trial in nation's largest counterterrorism prosecution.
Christensen Farms CEO Glenn Stolt spoke about his surprise about the ICE raid and his frustration with the media coverage not being entirely accurate

Big Minnesota pork producer 'surprised' by immigration raids

Christensen Farms says third-party vendor may have hired illegal workers.
FILE - In this December, 2015 photo provided by the Anoka County Sheriff's Office in Andover, Minn., shows Abdirizak Mohamed Warsame, of Eagan, Minn.

Minneapolis man sentenced in ISIS case gets extra time at halfway house for gambling on soccer matches

Abdirizak Warsame is second to be released from federal prison after nation's biggest terror probe.
William De Roo Ramirez

Mexican man caught with 158 pounds of meth bound for Minnesota given 10-year sentence

William De Roo-Ramirez, 26, helped lead authorities to Twin Cities traffickers taking orders from Sinaloa cartel.

Former Minneapolis FBI agent who leaked files to be sentenced in October

Terry James Albury pleaded guilty to leaking classified documents.
Scientists at the BCA have had to take extra precautions including having doses of Narcan available when processing seized narcotics because of the su

Minnesota carfentanil case nets nearly 7-year sentence

In midst of carfentanil fatalities, federal judge lowers the boom.
A building that housed Michael Hari's business is seen Wednesday, March 14, 2018, in Clarence, Ill. Hari, a former sheriff's deputy, is accused of bei

FBI: Minnesota mosque bomber took orders from 'higher-ups'

The Illinois weapons trial has been moved to November. The three men charged face charges in Minnesota, too.
Anoka County Sheriff James Stuart is also named in the lawsuit.

Judge: Federal suit by Ramsey woman turned over to ICE after fender-bender can proceed

Judge John Tunheim calls allegations "precisely" type of conduct that sows immigrants' distrust of law enforcement.
Prosecutors are on track to charge more than 110 defendants in federal gun cases for the 2018 fiscal year in Minnesota.

Minneapolis led a sustained spike in ATF gun traces for Minn. in 2017

ATF said that it traced 3,662 firearms in Minnesota last year, up 14 percent from 2016 and the most reported in the state to date.
Judge Gunnar Nordbye’s granddaughter Andrea Bassett and great-great grandson Gunnar Bassett posed with the judge’s newly hung portrait in the chie

Posthumous portraits preserve Minnesota's federal court's history

The four portraits commemorate federal judges in Minnesota who have long since passed.

Maplewood dentist accused of issuing scores of illegitimate painkiller doses

Dr. Jerry Kent Brunsoman is also accused of failing to keep records of opioid inventory, including fentanyl.
Sherrie Dirk

Minn. couple charged with murder in death of foster child, 3

Girl's weight had plummeted just weeks before Nov. 2017 death, prosecutors say.
Eric James Reinbold

Minnesotan who wrote of 'armed rebellion' convicted of having pipe bombs

Eric James Reinbold allegedly etched out recipes for explosives, wanted to spark "2nd American Revolution."
Eric Reinbold

Prosecutor: Man on trial in Minn. pipe bomb case wrote of 'armed rebellion'

Notebook and cache of pipe bombs are at issue in federal trial of Eric James Reinbold, 41, of Oklee, Minn.
A Fridley man claimed in a court filing that Anoka County Sheriff James Stuart denied him a permit to carry a firearm due to “discrimination based o

Fridley man at center of FBI terror probe battles in court for a gun permit

The highly unusual case seeks to test the limits of how much discretion officials have in denying permits to carry to those without criminal convictions.
Erica MacDonald recently took office as Minnesota’s new U.S. attorney.

Families not far from mind of new Minnesota U.S. Attorney Erica MacDonald

Former Dakota County judge hopes to have a voice on national security and American Indian issues.
U.S. Judge David Stras, a former Minnesota Supreme Court justice, in a 2018 Star Tribune file photo.

Anthony Kennedy retirement returns David Stras to Supreme Court speculation

Trump has kept the Eighth Circuit judge among his possible nominees since 2016.
Ryan Gilbertson

Jury convicts Dakota Plains co-founder, associate in $30M stock manipulation scheme

Two who ran oil services firm were accused in stock manipulation scheme.

Minn. prisoner transport officer accused of sexually assaulting female inmate

A Bovey, Minn., man working for a private prisoner transport agency has been charged with repeatedly sexually assaulting a female prisoner during her multiday, cross-country…
Three Illinois men who allegedly bombed a Dar al-Farooq Islamic Center in August 2017 have been charged with federal civil rights and hate crime viola

Federal hate crime charges added in bombing of Bloomington mosque

Three Illinois militia members now face civil rights and hate crime allegations.
U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration Acting Administrator Robert Patterson, left, speaks in Omaha, Neb., Thursday, June 7, 2018, in front of Neb. Gov.

New federal Drug Enforcement Administration division pairs Minnesota with Great Plains states

Meth trafficking is among the leading targets of new five-state federal office.
The FBI’s new special agent in charge for Minneapolis, Jill Sanborn, brings with her an extensive background in terrorism investigations and is one

FBI's Minneapolis office plans diversity recruitment push

The FBI's Diversity Agent Recruitment initiative will come to Minneapolis for the first time this year on Aug. 2.
Protesters wore orange ponchos in solidarity with the three men who were convicted in plotting to join ISIS. The men are appearing before a three-judg

Murder conspiracy challenged in appeals by 3 Twin Cities men convicted in ISIS plot

Scores of supporters watched oral arguments in St. Paul on Thursday.
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