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Stephen Montemayor

Reporter | Federal Courts and Law Enforcement
Phone: 612-673-1755

Stephen Montemayor covers federal courts and law enforcement. He previously covered Minnesota politics and government.


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
'I don't know why I didn't shoot at them': Armed Woodbury man receives federal gun charges

'I don't know why I didn't shoot at them': Armed Woodbury man receives federal gun charges

Jason Steven Kearns, who twice fled law enforcement investigating drug trafficking, was arrested last week while wielding pistol, charges say.
ATF Special Agent William McCrary gestured to photos of “switches” on a screen at a May 3 news conference at the U.S. Courthouse in Minneapolis.

19-year-old Minneapolis twin brothers plead guilty to federal gun charges

Cortez and Quantez Ward were caught illegally possessing firearms while already on probation for January gun convictions.
Federal prosecutors convicted a man linked to supplying the firearm used in the October 2021 mass shooting at the Seventh Street Truck Park bar in St.

Legally bought guns turning up at crime scenes faster than ever

Some guns are being traced to crimes within days, hours of being stolen.
DFL State Auditor Julia Blaha, left, and Republican challenger Ryan Wilson are seeking the statewide office.

Minnesota Auditor Julie Blaha declares victory in tight race with Republican Ryan Wilson

Wilson concession statement Wednesday afternoon thanks supporters. The candidates offered different visions for how the little-known office should operate.
The scene outside the Brooklyn Center Police Department during the fourth night of unrest following the police killing of Daunte Wright in Brooklyn Ce

Lawsuit: Star Tribune photojournalist alleges state trooper broke hand with less-lethal rounds

Mark Vancleave was injured while reporting on April 2021 protests over Daunte Wright's police killing
Catalytic converter thefts are on the rise in the Twin Cities and across the country.

Minnesota search warrants executed in national catalytic converter thefts

U.S. Justice Department says national ring yielded more than half a billion dollars for thieves.
Monique Baugh was murdered in 2019.

Woman charged with laundering money for 'mastermind' in murder of Minneapolis woman

Phouvanh Keokaythinh is accused of helping launder drug money and buying a Michigan farm for illegal marijuana-growing operation.
The offices of Feeding Our Future are shown Thursday, Jan. 27, 2022 in St. Anthony, Minn., a week after FBI agents raided the offices of Minnesota non

Somali news outlet founder indicted in Feeding Our Future fraud case

Mohamed Muse Noor, also known as Deeq Darajo, was arrested in September while trying to leave the country.
Allan Minnerath, president of Central Specialties Inc.

U.S. Supreme Court won't hear qualified immunity case from rural Minnesota

Lower court ruled highway engineer had the right to detain construction workers.
A violent rash of carjackings across the Twin Cities in 2021 led to a renewed push by federal prosecutors to prosecute violent crime.

Minneapolis man admits to role in violent carjacking spree that targeted Uber, Lyft drivers

William Saffold also pulled a gun on an FBI agent who tried to arrest him.
Carla Kjellberg

Carla Kjellberg, family law attorney and political adviser, dies at 65

The nation first met Carla Kjellberg in 1971 when, at the age of 14, she broke her back jumping out of her burning home, lifted…
Gisela Castro Medina

Ex-St. Thomas student Gisela Medina to change plea in child sex trafficking case

Medina and GOP donor Anton Lazzaro were indicted last year.
Corrections Commissioner Paul Schnell wants to return to prison at least three of the 18 remaining inmates previously placed on COVID-19 conditional m

Hearing set on court order barring surrender of inmates previously on COVID-19 leave

Attorneys are still fighting termination of release for a new mother.
The Corrections Department cited vaccine and treatment availability — as well as better management of the virus in state prisons — as its rational

State Corrections Dept. wants to return three people on COVID-19 release to prison

Minnesota DOC is fighting a court challenge over plans to order surrender of those previously released to protect against COVID vulnerabilities.
A photo from a video shows a man with an umbrella and gas mask breaking windows at the AutoZone on Lake Street in Minneapolis during riots after Georg

FBI seeks help identifying 'Umbrella Man' who damaged AutoZone, Minneapolis police building during 2020 riots

Still-unidentified man was first seen in a viral video smashing windows after George Floyd was killed by police.
Florida woman admits to defrauding seniors out of $86 million in magazine fraud scheme

Florida woman admits to defrauding seniors out of $86 million in magazine fraud scheme

$300 million telemarketing scam has been called nation's largest-ever elder fraud case.
Hadith Yusuf Ahmed walks out of the Diana E. Murphy U.S. Courthouse in Minneapolis after his hearing Thursday.

First defendants plead guilty in Feeding Our Future fraud

Bekam Merdassa, Hanna Marakegn and Hadith Yusuf Ahmed pleaded guilty to one count each of conspiracy to commit wire fraud.
Anton Lazzaro

Judge: Anton Lazzaro's bid to dismiss indictment should be denied

The Minneapolis GOP donor remains jailed on federal child sex trafficking conspiracy charges.
In this Jan. 6, 2021, photo, violent protesters loyal to then-President Donald Trump stormed the Capitol in Washington.

Eagan mail carrier on probation for participating in Jan. 6 U.S. Capitol siege

Bratjan admitted to breaking into Capitol, denies pushing officers.
Woman settles lawsuit over her recording of 2018 encounter with Robbinsdale police

Woman settles lawsuit over her recording of 2018 encounter with Robbinsdale police

Amy Koopman was initially charged with obstruction after livestreaming officers drawing guns on two Black motorists.
Department of Corrections Commissioner Paul Schnell was informed Friday that a federal investigation found his department violated disabled prisoners�

Minnesota prisons violate disabled inmates' rights, feds say

A Justice Department probe found the Department of Corrections failed to inform disabled prisoners of accommodations to help with GED courses and exams.
A week after FBI agents raided Minnesota nonprofit Feeding Our Future in January, evidence of the raid was seen in its St. Anthony offices.

Questions continue in food fraud case over judge's words

The Minnesota Department of Education stopped and then restarted payments to Feeding Our Future in 2021.
U.S. Attorney Andrew Luger announced charges on Sept. 20, 2022, against four dozen people involved in an alleged $250 million conspiracy to defraud th

Feds stop another person linked to food program scheme from leaving U.S.

Mohamed Muse Noor had booked a flight to Turkey scheduled to depart Monday
U.S. Attorney Andrew Luger shows how one meal provider claimed to feed the same number of children each day, which he said is a red flag for fraud.

How authorities allege Feeding Our Future fraud unfolded

Feeding Our Future, led by founder and executive director Aimee Bock, is accused of accepting bribes and kickbacks from entities in exchange for sponsoring applications for the federal child nutrition program.
Mike Lindell, CEO of Chanhassen-based MyPillow and a close ally of former President Donald Trump, has repeatedly made false claims that the 2020 elect

MyPillow's Mike Lindell sues feds over seized cellphone

Mike Lindell contends FBI agents violated his rights by taking his iPhone outside a Mankato Hardee's this month.
U.S. Attorney Andrew Luger described the case as the largest pandemic fraud in the country, calling it “a brazen scheme of staggering proportions.�

Feeding Our Future founder among 48 charged in $250M fraud

Prosecutors say co-conspirators falsely claimed to serve 125 million meals around the state, but instead pocketed federal money for lavish personal expenses.
Minneapolis attorney Jerry Blackwell is the second federal judge nominee for Minnesota under the Biden administration.

Key Chauvin prosecutor Jerry Blackwell's federal judge nomination nears full Senate vote

The Minneapolis attorney cleared the Senate's Judiciary Committee on a bipartisan vote Thursday.
In a statement Wednesday, U.S. Attorney Andrew Luger said that the sentence showed “that the reprehensible crime of child sexual exploitation will n

St. Paul man sentenced to 43 years in nation's 'worst' sextortion case

More than 1,000 teen girls were victimized across all states. FBI says victims are still being identified daily.
Jerry Westrom, 56, with his attorney, Steve Meshbesher, reached for the microphone to say he would not be addressing the court during his sentencing F

Life sentence for Isanti man in Minneapolis woman's '93 killing

The family of Jeanne "Jeanie" Childs tearfully described 30 years of seeking justice for her murder before the judge imposed the state's harshest sentence.
A photo of a Glock auto sear, which can modify a handgun into an assault-style weapon.

Minneapolis man accused of using 3-D printers to make handguns outfitted with 'switch' devices

Case launched after agents seized package of gun parts from Taiwan.
Minnesota National Guard in downtown Minneapolis.

Star Tribune sues over records sought from Department of Defense regarding 2020 civil unrest response

Newspaper has not received documents sought since October 2020.
J. Alexander Kueng, left, received three years in prison and Tou Thao 3½ years.

Federal prosecutors will appeal sentences given to J. Alexander Kueng, Tou Thao

Government sought more prison time for violating George Floyd's civil rights.
Anton Lazzaro

Anton Lazzaro revives claim he is being singled out for prosecution in child sex trafficking case

The Minneapolis GOP donor was arrested and indicted in August 2021.
Handguns on display at a Honolulu gun shop. A lawsuit challenging Minnesota’s age limit for permits to carry handguns in public is attracting interv

Lawsuit challenges state's age limit on open-carry permits

Three Minnesota residents under the age of 21, with the backing of three gun rights organizations, have sued over the enforcement of a state law barring anyone younger than 21 from obtaining a permit to carry.
“Our beautiful son should never have lost his life at the hands of police,” Amity Dimock said in a statement Tuesday about her son, Kobe Dimock-He

Brooklyn Center, police department sued over 2019 killing of Kobe Dimock-Heisler

Dimock-Heisler was 21 and had autism when shot and killed by police.
Derek Chauvin

Chauvin heading to federal facility to serve time for killing George Floyd

U.S. marshals took custody of the former Minneapolis police officer Wednesday morning and escorted him on a flight.
Former Metro Transit Police Chief Eddie Frizell, new U.S. marshal for Minnesota, outside the Diana E. Murphy U.S. Courthouse in Minneapolis.

New leader of U.S. Marshals Service in Minnesota takes helm amid new attention

Former Metro Transit Police Chief Eddie Frizell is the first Black Marshal to serve in Minnesota.
“What law enforcement is encountering on the streets of Minneapolis, St. Paul and other cities today is far more disturbing than even the alarming n

Large-scale gun, drug busts latest in crime crackdown

Operations in the Twin Cities and Rochester produced dozens of arrests this week.
Feds investigating $1.2 million e-mail fraud scheme that targeted city of Cottage Grove

Feds investigating $1.2 million e-mail fraud scheme that targeted city of Cottage Grove

Scammer allegedly posed as a company contracted for sewer project.
Muhammad Masood

Former Mayo Clinic researcher pleads guilty to attempting to join ISIS overseas

Muhammad Masood expressed desire to carry out attacks in U.S., travel abroad
J. Alexander Kueng received three years in prison and Tou Thao was sentenced to 3½ years.

Kueng, Thao to appeal federal sentences for violating George Floyd's civil rights

Both were sentenced last month.
In this May 6, 2020, photo, a sign stood outside the Department of Labor’s headquarters in Washington.

Feds sue Golden Valley senior care provider over not paying OT

Investigation found more than $75,000 in unpaid overtime to 25 senior care employees.
Essie McKenzie, flanked by her mother, Shenna Galloway, and sister Alexis McKenzie asked for prayers for her daughters who where trapped in a van fire

Mom sues Walmart after daughter died in fire at Fridley store's lot

Essie McKenzie says Walmart failed to properly manage RV campers who stay overnight.
Lazzaro Anton Lazzaro CREDIT: Sherburne County jail

GOP donor Anton Lazzaro back in court to allege agents listened to calls with attorneys

Federal prosecutors say no privileged calls were intentionally reviewed.
Former Minneapolis police officer Tou Thao, left, and his attorney Robert Paule arrived for sentencing for violating George Floyd’s civil rights at

3½ years for Thao, 3 for Kueng for violating Floyd's rights

The sentencings bring to a close the Justice Department's criminal prosecution of the four ex-Minneapolis officers involved in George Floyd's death. The two ex-Minneapolis officers still await trial on state charges.
Minnesota writer John Walker, with his daughters Keely and Lannie Walker.

After drug lord's capture, family of slain Minnesotan seeks justice

Rafael Quintero was linked to the brutal 1985 murder of John Clay Walker.
Anton Lazzaro

Prosecutors deny Anton Lazzaro's claims authorities listened to his calls with attorneys

The Minneapolis GOP donor wants sex trafficking charges dropped.
J. Alexander Kueng and Tou Thao will be sentenced Wednesday.

Kueng, Thao to be sentenced next week for violating George Floyd's civil rights

A federal judge reduced sentencing guideline calculations after a Friday hearing.
Thomas Lane pleaded guilty in May and agreed to a sentence of three years in a separate state case.

Ex-officer Thomas Lane is sentenced to 2½ years for violating George Floyd's civil rights

Lane and two other former Minneapolis officers were convicted by a federal jury in February.
Thomas Lane

Ex-officer Lane to be sentenced today for violating George Floyd's civil rights

Lane, two others were convicted by a federal jury in February.
Michael Paul has been with the FBI since joining as an intern in 1994.

Top FBI agent in Minneapolis leaving for promotion at D.C. headquarters

Michael Paul had served as special agent in charge of the Minneapolis division since 2020.
“If this county engineer or others like him are allowed to take on powers never given to them, it could put us out of business,” said Allan Minner

Can highway engineer detain trucks on road? U.S. Supreme Court asked to review Minnesota case

The case has the potential to shield all government officials from being sued for acts such as detaining citizens.
Chief U.S. Judge Patrick Schiltz ended his investigation into information leaked to the Star Tribune and New York Times about secret grand jury procee

Federal judge ends probe into leaks of grand jury proceedings surrounding George Floyd's death

State and federal investigations failed to uncover the source of information published by the Star Tribune and New York Times.
New U.S. District Court of Minnesota Chief Judge Patrick Schiltz at the Minneapolis Federal Courthouse.

New chief federal judge sees caseloads, security as Minnesota court's top issues

Patrick Schiltz took over for John Tunheim on July 1.
Former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin addresses the court as Hennepin County Judge Peter Cahill presides over Chauvin’s sentencing at the

Derek Chauvin sentenced to more than 20 years in federal civil rights case

Chauvin will serve federal sentence concurrently with 22 1⁄2 year state term for George Floyd's murder
Former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin addressed the court as Hennepin County Judge Peter Cahill presided over Chauvin’s sentencing at the

Derek Chauvin's federal sentencing scheduled for Thursday

The former Minneapolis officer pleaded guilty last year to civil rights violations in cases involving George Floyd, Minneapolis teen.
Tou Thao

Feds ask for up to 6 1⁄2 years in prison for ex-MPD officer Thao for failing to help George Floyd

Prosecutors want the same sentences for Thao as ex-officers Thomas Lane and Alexander Kueng.
Federal prosecutors are seeking up to 6½ years in prison for J. Alexander Kueng, left, and Thomas Lane, the former Minneapolis police officers convic

Federal prosecutors seek up to 6 1⁄2 years for ex-officers for violating George Floyd's civil rights

Alexander Kueng, two others, were convicted by a federal jury earlier this year.
Jose Angel Chapa-Aguilera

Lino Lakes man indicted on gun, drug charges after allegedly torturing a man over drug debt

Victim was barricaded under a home and needed a blood transfusion after escaping
Protesters stood across from officers at the Minneapolis 3rd Police Precinct on May 26, 2020.

Protester sues Mpls., officer over projectile injuries during Floyd protests

Civil suit alleges that police aimed at peaceful protesters' heads during 2020 unrest.
In this image taken from video, former Minneapolis police Officer Derek Chauvin addresses the court during his sentencing for George Floyd’s murder.

Feds seek 25-year sentence for Derek Chauvin for civil rights violations

Chauvin pleaded guilty to charges tied to George Floyd's 2020 death and a case involving teenage boy.
Anton Lazzaro

Accused sex trafficker Anton Lazzaro's attorneys say authorities listened in on privileged jail calls

Legal team for GOP megadonor seeking dismissal of charges, sanctions
Frank Joseph Bratjan Jr. was allegedly captured on U.S. Capitol surveillance cameras entering the building through a broken window during the riot at

Eagan postal worker becomes ninth from Minnesota arrested in U.S. Capitol riot

Charges say suspect moved from New York to live with his Minnesota mother as FBI investigated the insurrection.
The Stillwater prison holds more than 1,100 adult inmates.

Stillwater guard, prisoner convicted of murder indicted in meth conspiracy scheme

Charges allege that guard helped smuggle in packages of drugs, cellphones.
Minneapolis attorney Jerry Blackwell is the second federal judge nominee for Minnesota under the Biden administration.

Biden nominates Chauvin prosecutor for federal judge in Minnesota

If confirmed by the U.S. Senate, Jerry Blackwell would be the second Minnesota federal jurist appointed by the Biden administration.
State Sen. Chris Eaton shared about losing her daughter to a drug overdose before Gov. Tim Walz signed the opioid response bill at the Capitol Tuesday

Minnesota leaders celebrate law that speeds access to opioid settlement money

State will get $300 million across 18 years to counter the epidemic.
Republican gubernatorial candidate Scott Jensen wants to suspend gas taxes in the state.

Gas prices becoming big theme in 2022 Minnesota governor race

Gov. Tim Walz's GOP opponent Scott Jensen issued a plan to lower prices at the pump.
Republican Scott Jensen’s public safety plan mirrors much of what GOP state senators proposed last session.

GOP governor candidate Scott Jensen makes pitch for crime response

A public safety spending bill was among the priorities that stalled when legislators missed a May deadline.
The Minneapolis Third Police Precinct building was set on fire on May 28, 2020, during a third night of protests following the death of George Floyd i

Minnesota Boogaloo cases covered broad range of political motivations

Fourth sentencing last week marked end to latest chapter of extremism in Minnesota.
U.S. Rep. Dean Phillips spoke at news conference with state and local law enforcement leaders Tuesday on his Pathways to Policing Act, a bipartisan bi

U.S. Rep. Dean Phillips, law enforcement leaders unveil bill to boost police recruiting

The bill would direct $50 million to the Department of Justice and local communities to attract candidates, especially those underrepresented in law enforcement.
State Sen. Omar Fateh, DFL-Minneapolis

GOP state senators file ethics complaint against DFL Sen. Omar Fateh

Complaint stems from reports on bill to benefit a Somali YouTube channel that supported him, perjury conviction of brother-in-law.
Rep. Heather Edelson and Rep. Emma Greenman spoke with another legislator in the House Chamber during a recess Sunday at the state Capitol.

Legislators leave work undone; short special session possible

Gov. Tim Walz planned to meet with House and Senate leaders early Monday morning to hash out the details of a short special session to wrap up agreed-upon bills, which could happen as early as this week.
GOP attorney general candidate Jim Schultz left the stage with his wife, Molly, and their children during this month’s state Republican convention i

Newcomer Jim Schultz is GOP's pick to challenge Keith Ellison

Countering violent crime is one of Schultz's top pitches as he runs for attorney general.
A Drug Enforcement Administration chemist checks confiscated powder containing fentanyl at the DEA Northeast Regional Laboratory in New York.

Bill to align state fentanyl penalties with heroin unlikely to survive

Supporters want same weight threshold as heroin to trigger felonies for fentanyl sale, possession.
From left, DFL House Majority Leader Ryan Winkler, Republican Senate Majority Leader Jeremy Miller and DFL Gov. Tim Walz walk to meet reporters in fro

Minnesota legislators try a Hail Mary on sports betting

With four days left in the legislative session, multiple tax and spending measures remain at a standstill.