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A federal judge Wednesday handed down a 7½-year sentence to a St. Cloud man who played a part in his daughter's smuggling operation that funneled into the Midwest large amounts of fentanyl, methamphetamine and cocaine supplied by one of the world's most notorious drug cartels.

Jeffrey Robert Knott, 52, was sentenced in U.S. District Court in North Dakota after pleading guilty to international money laundering in connection with the trafficking that spanned from January 2019 until January 2022, when ringleader 31-year-old Macalla "Kayla" Knott and others working for her were indicted.

The prison time imposed by Judge Peter Welte matched what the defense and prosecution proposed and came in below the federal guideline range of roughly eight to 12 years.

Defense attorney Jeff Bredahl said his client went through many rehabilitation programs since his arrest and "that had a substantial impact on the resolution of the case."

Upon his release from prison, Jeffrey Knott will be under court supervision for three years.

The drugs came from Joaquín "El Chapo" Guzmán's Sinaloa cartel in Mexico, according to prosecutors. Guzman was sentenced in 2019 to life in prison for leading a multibillion-dollar drug-trafficking enterprise that spread murder and mayhem for more than two decades.

Guzman, 67, is presently held in a supermax federal prison that is dubbed the "Alcatraz of the Rockies" in Florence, Colo.

Macalla Knott pleaded guilty in March 2023 to conspiracy to possess, import into the United States and distribute illicit drugs, and international money laundering conspiracy. She is scheduled to be sentenced Aug. 14, when she could receive 15 years to life in prison.

Her group used violence and threats to ensure payment and in an effort to conceal crimes, according to federal prosecutors. The co-conspirators, all Minnesotans, also used smartphone apps and financial transaction tactics to hide where the movements of their ill-gotten proceeds.

Prison sentences have been handed down to Kayla Marie Schutz, 30, of St. Augusta, 3⅓ years; Demian Hebert, 49, of Bloomington, 14 years; Oliver Louis Dylla, 33, of Avon, 2½ years; James Warren Garner, 24, Little Falls, seven years; Mary Rose Thompson, Moorhead, 8⅓ years; Melanie Ann Quick, 28, of St. Cloud, nine years; Joseph Paul Myers Jr., 72, of Elk River, 11 years; and Robert Jon Ratka, 41, of Melrose, seven years.

Awaiting sentencing are Deanna Gerads, 34, of Freeport; David Robert Nowlan, 32, of Waite Park; Tiffany Nina Keomany, 30, of Savage; Tyler Neil Pelzer, 34, of St. Cloud; Robert Blair Gjevre, 63, of Champlin; and Brady Robert Ludescher, 28, who has had various addresses in Minnesota.

Star Tribune staff writer Madison Roth contributed to this report.