Federal carjacking charges filed against Fargo man

John Poitra was charged in Clay County on March 17th

FARGO, N.D. — On March 17th, John Poitra, 30, was arrested after allegedly threatening to stab a man in Fargo, stealing their car and fleeing into Minnesota were he was taken into custody.

“The deputy had just started a shift, he was right in the area when the call came out,” said Clay County Sheriff, Mark Empting. “He immediately saw the vehicle, followed behind it for a short period of time before he attempted the traffic stop on the vehicle. From the time he entered into Minnesota to the time we took the subject into custody was less than five minutes.”

Officials say because of the severity of the crime and since Poitra crossed state lines, this case warranted a federal felony carjacking charge.

“Based upon the situation and the circumstances of this particular case and the egregiousness of it, this is all things that are taken into consideration and evaluated,” said Fargo FBI Supervisory Special Agent, Erin Falb. “We do have the discussions if this case does merit having that type of federal crime which it does in this particular instance.”

Mondays hearing went along as normal, with some modifications done to keep everyone safe from coronavirus.

“The judge was appearing via video conference from Grand Forks. We are trying to keep as many people out of the courtrooms as possible,” said U.S. Attorney Drew Wrigley. “The defendant was present. His council was present on the phone.”

Typically, these cases move through the grand jury first, but COVID-19 is having in impact on making that happen.

“Under court rules we need to get the defendant in front of a grand jury within a set time period,” says Wrigley. “Currently the federal district court here in North Dakota has an order in place though, tolling all of those time periods because of the complications with the pandemic.”

Wrigley says he expects to have Poitra in front of grand jury in 30 to 40 days.

Categories: Crime, Local News