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Stephen James Smith
Stephen James Smith

Police arrest repeat drug offenders out on bail

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news Cloquet, 55720

Cloquet Minnesota 122 Avenue C 55720

New drug charges were filed in separate cases last week against two men who recently posted bail for previous drug offenses.

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Jerry Kong Vang, 35, of Fridley, Minn., was arrested along with two others last Wednesday for possession of methamphetamine. Vang was out on bail after being charged in February with felony first-degree possession of a controlled substance and fifth-degree possession of a controlled substance. At that time, authorities confiscated over 20 grams of meth from him and three others and determined that Vang had transported the meth into the area and sold it in a local hotel room to the other defendants. At that time Judge Dale Wolf set bail at $10,000 bond or $1,000 cash.

Stephen James Smith, 21, of Cloquet was charged in Carlton County Court on Friday with one felony count of second-degree possession of a controlled substance. Smith had been released on bail earlier this month after being charged with one felony count of third-degree possession of heroin and one gross misdemeanor count of introducing contraband (drugs) into a jail or prison facility. At the time of his first court appearance, bail was set at $1,500 bond or $150 cash.

Three men charged after Doritos bag found to contain meth

Jerry Vang and two local men are all facing charges after a police canine discovered methamphetamine in the car in which they were riding.

Alexander Michael Lafave, 22, of Cloquet, Keith Allen Lind Jr., 37, of Cloquet and Vang were each charged with one felony count of second-degree possession of a controlled substance in Carlton County Court last Thursday. Lind was also charged with misdemeanor counts of driving after revocation and possession of over 1.4 grams of marijuana in a motor vehicle.

The criminal complaint filed in the case indicated that a Fond du Lac police officer was parked on Reservation Road just north of Carlton Avenue West at approximately 9:50 p.m. on March 19 when he observed a vehicle traveling southbound on Reservation Road. The officer recognized the driver of the vehicle as Lind, and he was aware that Lind did not have a valid driver’s license. The officer began to follow Lind’s vehicle and as he did so, he observed an equipment violation on the car and pulled Lind over.

The officer then approached the vehicle and confirmed the driver to be Lind, as well as the fact his driver’s license had been revoked. Also present in the vehicle were Lafave and Vang. The officer noted that both Lind and Lafave exhibited signs of being under the influence of drugs. A records check showed that Lafave had active warrants against him for his arrest, so Lafave was then taken into custody.

Based on the men’s behavior, and prior information learned from a Cloquet police detective, the Fond du Lac officer had reason to believe that Lind was possibly trafficking controlled substances on the reservation. The officer deployed his trained narcotics canine around Lind’s vehicle, and the canine alerted to the back seat area of the vehicle. A hand search was conducted, and the officer found a Doritos chip bag in the back seat where Vang had been sitting. Inside the Doritos bag was a plastic bindle that contained a substance thought to be methamphetamine. The material was seized and the gross field weight was found to be 7.42 grams.

All three men were then transported to the Carlton County Law Enforcement Center and booked. The items that were seized were sent to the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension to determine the official weight and analysis of the substance.

Lafave was scheduled for an initial appearance/Rule 8 hearing at 2:30 p.m. Wednesday, as this issue of the Pine Journal went to press. Lind’s next court date is 9 a.m. Monday, March 31, and Vang is scheduled for 9 a.m. April 2. All three men applied for, and were granted, public defenders.  

Lind was released on his own recognizance by the court with conditions and is no longer in custody. No bail was set for Lafave because he is being held on a probation violation.Bail on Vang’s past and current cases was set at $175,000 bond or $17,500 cash for the two files and he remains in jail.

Heroin, meth discovered on man caught shoplifting

Stephen Smith had been out on bail for only two weeks before being apprehended last Wednesday for shoplifting and found to be in possession of drugs as well.

Smith was charged in Carlton County Court on Friday with one felony count of second-degree possession of a controlled substance.

According to the criminal complaint filed in the case, at approximately 4 p.m. March 19, Cloquet police officers were dispatched to the Cloquet Wal-Mart store regarding two individuals who had been caught shoplifting.

When the officers arrived on the scene, they found store officials had detained Smith and a 21-year-old Duluth woman after having observed them shoplifting in the store. Prior to taking the two into custody, officers searched Smith and located various items on his person, including a black Zippo box that contained six packets of heroin and three packets of methamphetamine with a combined gross field weight of 7.3 grams. Smith was then transported to the Carlton County Law Enforcement Center. The substances that were seized from him were sent to the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension to determine the official weight and analysis.

Smith was scheduled for an initial appearance/Rule 8 hearing at 9 a.m. Wednesday, March 26, as this issue of the Pine Journal went to press.

Bail was set at $40,000 bond $4,000 cash and he is being held in custody on a probation violation charge.

The female involved in the shoplifting incident faces misdemeanor charges of theft and trespass and is scheduled to be arraigned at 9 a.m. Thursday, March 27.

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