For Immediate Release
Bottineau Man Sentenced to Thirty-five Years in Federal Prison for Shooting a Grafton Police Officer While Fleeing a Federal Arrest Warrant
FARGO - Acting United States Attorney Nicholas W. Chase announced that U.S. District Court Chief Judge Peter D. Welte sentenced Ruben Joe Cruz, age 38, Bottineau, ND, to 35 years in federal prison for the charge of Conspiracy to Distribute a Controlled Substance, Use of a Firearm During and Relation to a Drug Trafficking Crime, and being a Felon and Fugitive Unlawfully in Possession of a Firearm. Judge Welte also sentenced Cruz to five years of supervised released, $59,113 in restitution and $500 in special assessment fees.
On October 21, 2020, Cruz was charged by Superseding Indictment alleging that on August 14, 2020, Cruz unlawfully possessed a firearm while he was under indictment out of the District of South Dakota. While serving the arrest warrant for the South Dakota case, Cruz discharged the firearm seriously injuring an officer from the Grafton, North Dakota Police Department. The Superseding Indictment further alleged that from August 2019 to August 2020, Cruz conspired with others to distribute 500 grams or more of methamphetamine and that Cruz possessed methamphetamine with intent to distribute at the time of the shooting.
On March 18, 2021, co-defendant Gilbert Garcia was sentenced to 78 months in federal prison for his role in the drug conspiracy.
This case was investigated by the North Dakota Bureau of Criminal Investigation, Grand Forks Narcotics Task Force, Walsh County Sheriff’s Office, Walsh County State’s Attorney Office, Department of Homeland Security Investigations, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Assistant United States Attorney Chris Myers prosecuted the case.