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Four charged in meth bust

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Four people were charged in Carlton County Court this week after authorities confiscated over 20 grams of methamphetamine.

Jerry Kong Vang, 35, of Fridley, Minn., faces felony charges of first-degree possession of a controlled substance and fifth-degree possession of a controlled substance; Joshua Donald Meisner, 23,  of Cloquet faces one felony charge of second-degree possession of a controlled substance; Andrew Gregory Allen Wallien, 24, of Cloquet faces one felony charge of second-degree possession of a controlled substance; and Jessica Jean Cossalter-Unulock, 34, of Cloquet faces one second-degree charge of possession of a controlled substance and one charge of fifth-degree possession of a controlled substance. A fifth person involved in the incident has not yet been charged.

According to the criminal complaint, on Feb. 19 law enforcement officers from the Cloquet Police, Carlton County Sheriff’s Office and Fond du Lac Tribal Police cooperated on the drug bust. Officers suspected that local individuals were planning a drug transaction and had rented rooms at Black Bear Casino Resort while awaiting a drug connection from the Twin Cities metro area.

While surveying the area, officers observed a small black vehicle leaving the casino and heading for Cloquet. Officers had previously stopped the same vehicle and located drugs inside. In doing a records search, authorities noted that the car was registered in the Twin Cities and the driver was a known source of controlled substances and a person of interest in their investigation.

Officers followed the vehicle and noted the driver doubled back once the officers caught up to the vehicle. The driver also crossed the center line twice, so officers performed a traffic stop on the vehicle.

The two occupants of the car were Vang and a female companion. Vang stated he was coming from a friend’s house in Cloquet, which officers knew to be false because they had observed him coming from the casino.

Officers immediately noted that the female appeared to be under the influence of a controlled substance and she allegedly admitted to having smoked meth earlier that morning. She was later found to have an active probation warrant and taken into custody.

Officers then conducted an open air sniff of the vehicle utilizing the Cloquet Police K9 Raja. The dog alerted to a woman’s purse and backpack inside the car. The female admitted there were drugs in them and indicated that Vang had put them there. A search by officers yielded a baggie containing approximately .5 grams of meth in the purse and an orange false container containing 2.2 grams of meth inside the backpack.

Based on the investigation up to that point, authorities believed that additional evidence was present in the hotel rooms of the local individuals believed to be receiving drugs from Vang. Officers obtained search warrants and entered one of the rooms. There they discovered two men who appeared to be under the influence of controlled substances, later identified as Meisner and Wallien.

Officers located a purple velvet bag containing plastic packaging containing 16.1 grams of meth.

About five minutes later, there was a knock on the door and Cossalter entered the room, indicating it was hers. Officers conducted a search of her belongings and found pills in a cellophane wrapper and a set of car keys in her purse. Officers then asked where Cossalter’s car was and requested permission to search it, which she granted. In the car’s console they located an orange pill bottle with the label removed which authorities suspected to be meth and various prescription pill, some of which were identified as oxycodone. The substance in the pill bottle weighed 1.8 grams.

While being transported to the jail, Cossalter indicated she had been divorced and returned to the use of her maiden name, which was Unulock.

In continuing the investigation, authorities learned that Vang had transported the meth into the area and sold the meth in the hotel room to the other defendants.

Judge Dale Wolf set bail of $10,000 for Vang, $1,000 for Unulock, $2,000 for Meisner, and $1,000 for Wallien. Vang and Unulock are slated for initial appearances at 9 a.m. on March 3. Meisner and Wallien will appear at 9 a.m. on March 5.