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Contractor deported to Czech Republic

FARGO -- A West Fargo contractor who pleaded guilty to a racketeering charge in 2009 has been deported to the Czech Republic, according to his wife and attorneys fighting the legal battle for his return.

Jill Spacek said her husband, Peter Spacek, was deported on Aug. 16 and is staying in "some type of a housing system" in the Czech Republic. She remains in contact with him through email, "and he's doing as best as he can do," she said Wednesday.

According to court documents:

Peter Spacek was born in Czechoslovakia in 1967 and immigrated to the United States in 1984.

He was arrested in July 2008 in Richland County after authorities found construction machinery, an ATV and other stolen property on two farmsteads west of Colfax.

Cass County prosecutors later filed a racketeering charge against Spacek, alleging he maintained control of Straight Edge Construction in West Fargo through "a pattern of racketeering activity or its proceeds" that included property thefts valued at about $500,000.

Spacek pleaded guilty in December 2009 to illegal control of an enterprise. He was sentenced to serve 364 days in prison with one day suspended for 10 years, during which time he'd be on supervised probation.

However, because of his racketeering conviction, the Department of Homeland Security classified him as an aggravated felon and began deportation proceedings in July 2010.

Spacek asked the court for permission to withdraw his guilty plea, claiming his attorney, Jesse Lange, didn't accurately inform him of the consequences.

Cass County Assistant State's Attorney Cherie Clark opposed the motion, arguing that Lange "did not assure the Defendant that he would be free from potential deportation."

Lange declined to comment Wednesday.

A court hearing on Spacek's motion was canceled Wednesday. His lawyer, Ross Brandborg, said the motion may still be heard at a later date.

Raymond Gwenigale, the Minneapolis attorney representing Spacek in his immigration case before the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, said attorneys for the government and Spacek have filed briefs with the appeals court, but a hearing date hasn't been set.

If Spacek's attorneys win their cases, "getting him back in the country wouldn't be that big of an issue," Gwenigale said.

Jill Spacek said she doesn't know when, or if, her husband will return. She said she works two jobs and doesn't have the financial means to visit her husband, who has two children living in the United States.

His deportation has been difficult for the family, she said.

"It's terrible. It's absolutely terrible," she said.

Mike Nowatzki is a reporter

at The Forum of Fargo Moorhead, which is owned by Forum Communications Co.