FARGO — A St. Cloud woman accused of managing and executing a significant drug trade between Mexico and the Midwest has pleaded guilty to multiple federal charges.
Macalla “Kayla” Knott, 30, of St. Cloud, pleaded guilty this week to federal charges of conspiracy to distribute controlled substances and taking part in a money laundering conspiracy and continuing criminal enterprise. She entered her plea on Monday, March 13, before a U.S. District Judge in Fargo.
Knott had lived in Mexico since March 2020, and had been directing shipments of methamphetamine, cocaine and fentanyl to multiple distributors across the Midwest while also arranging payments to sources in Mexico, according to a U.S. Department of Justice release. As part of her plea, Knott admitted to supervising, managing and leading more than five people in the criminal enterprise.
An investigation headed by the Organized Crime and Drug Enforcement Task Force resulted in the seizures of more than 100 pounds of methamphetamine, 9 pounds of fentanyl powder and over 120,000 fentanyl pills, according to the release.
While Knott is set to be sentenced in U.S. District Court on Aug. 7, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of North Dakota said the task force’s investigation has already led to the charging of 18 defendants.
Of those 18, only two have already been sentenced. Mary Thompson, 29, of Moorhead, was sentenced to serve 100 months in federal prison followed by three years of supervised release, while 28-year-old Melanie Quick, of St. Cloud, was sentenced to 108 months in federal prison followed by the same three-year term of supervised release.
The Justice Department said the investigation into others connected to the case remains “very active.”
The Organized Crime and Drug Enforcement Task Force is being assisted in their investigation by Central Minnesota Violent Offenders Task Force, St. Cloud Police Department, Stearns County Sheriff’s Office, Sartell Police Department, Benton County Sheriff’s Office, Sherburne County Sheriff’s Office, Morrison County Sheriff’s Office, Fargo Police Department, West Fargo Police Department, Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension and various federal agencies.