Here is a quick round-up of some of our top stories this week as well as a peek at what to expect next week.


In 1932, FBI agents uncovered a 'mammoth' moonshine operation in North Dakota, but who was the mastermind behind it all?

During the days of prohibition, millions of gallons of illegal alcohol were dumped out in an effort to stop the production and distribution of the product. Jamestown, N.D was the site of one of the biggest illegal operations in the nation. Photo courtesy: Wikimedia Commons.
During the days of prohibition, millions of gallons of illegal alcohol were dumped out in an effort to stop the production and distribution of the product. Jamestown, N.D was the site of one of the biggest illegal operations in the nation. Photo courtesy: Wikimedia Commons.

In 1932, North Dakota’s deputy Prohibition commissioner, John Hagen, knew something was cooking – literally – in a stretch of land between Bismarck and Fargo.

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He told The Jamestown Sun, in a story published July 21, 1932, "We knew there was a still some place in this vicinity and have known it for some time. We traced a truckload of sugar from Valley City to Jamestown where it was lost and a truck load of pipe from Fargo to within three miles of Jamestown and it was lost."


Hunt continues for elusive, fabled 'Lake Kampeska Monster'

Lake Kampeska, seen here on Saturday, June 5, 2021, in Watertown, S.D., can be a wide-open waterway with plenty of boat traffic. But kayaking and canoeing is certainly possible, even for beginner's, closer to shore or away from peak-use hours. Be sure to wear a flotation device. Christopher Vondracek / Forum News Service
Lake Kampeska, seen here on Saturday, June 5, 2021, in Watertown, S.D., can be a wide-open waterway with plenty of boat traffic. But kayaking and canoeing is certainly possible, even for beginner's, closer to shore or away from peak-use hours. Be sure to wear a flotation device. Christopher Vondracek / Forum News Service

LAKE KAMPESKA, S.D. — What good is a monster story if no one knows it?

Just ask the fluke-tailed, rumored sea creature of Lake Kampeska.

"A what?" asked Conda Williams. The longtime proprietor of The Prop, a tavern on the shores of the glacial lake just outside Watertown, talked to this pesky reporter as if he'd asked about vegan cheese curds. "There's no lake monster."


'We want to know where Lucia is.' Missing for 10 years, search is still on for Worthington woman

Lucia Chilel Perez of Worthington, Minn., vanished June 27, 2011. Submitted photo
Lucia Chilel Perez of Worthington, Minn., vanished June 27, 2011. Submitted photo

WORTHINGTON, Minn. — On June 26, 2011, Lucia Chilel Perez left Worthington with a family acquaintance to look for a job. Her kids haven't heard from her since.

A Guatemalan immigrant, Lucia had come to the United States to make a better life for herself and her three sons. Minnesota law prevented her from getting a driver's license, so she had to rely on others for transportation around the area. Family members connected Lucia with 33-year-old Bernardino Ramirez Perez, no relation, who agreed to give the soon-to-be 41-year-old Lucia, a ride to different businesses around northwest Iowa so she could find employment.


The ethics of true crime content: Listen to Dakota Spotlight's interview with Eric Carter-Landin host of True Consequences podcast

Eric Carter-Landin is the host of True Consequences podcast.  His little brother Jacob was murdered before his first birthday. Carter-Landin now advocates for victims and their families and is seeking justice for his brother.  Contributed / Eric Carter-Landin
Eric Carter-Landin is the host of True Consequences podcast. His little brother Jacob was murdered before his first birthday. Carter-Landin now advocates for victims and their families and is seeking justice for his brother. Contributed / Eric Carter-Landin

Eric Carter-Landin has a pleasant voice. That comes in handy when he hosts True Consequences podcast from his home in New Mexico. But his voice is more than just pleasant. What seeps into his thoughtful and carefully chosen words is a strong sense of empathy. Eric Carter-Landin cares about victims.

One such victim was his baby brother Jacob, murdered before his first birthday. Jacob had been left alone with their mother's new boyfriend and within an hour required medical attention. He was airlifted to a hospital but Jacob did not survive. No arrests have ever been made.


Q&A with crime and courts reporter April Baumgarten

April Baumgarten
April Baumgarten

Meet April Baumgarten. Baumgarten is a crime and courts reporter for The Forum of Fargo-Moorhead. She also has an interest in investigative and data reporting. Baumgarten has been a journalist for 10 years. She grew up on a ranch in western North Dakota. Her hobbies include Texas Hold 'Em and playing darts.

Q. Describe an average day in the life of a crime reporter?

A. Throughout the day, I check court records to see if there are criminal and civil complaints filed that we feel would be of public interest. I visit the local courthouses...


Coming next week

Monday: 12 years have passed since Peter Achermann went missing without a trace. Has there been any new leads?

Tuesday: A killer’s family wonders if he’s responsible for an unsolved murder.

Wednesday: Dakota Spotlight host James Wolner interviews Dan Box the host/producer Bowraville Podcast.

Thursday: A look back into the 1953 investigation into John’s Bar and Funhouse in Northeast Minneapolis. The bar became the center of the U.S. attorney for Minnesota's investigation into a prostitution and sex trafficking ring operating throughout the Upper Midwest.