Cloquet man sentenced for three drug crimes
A Cloquet man received three concurrent prison sentences last week for three drug crimes committed in both March and July in Carlton County. Judge Robert Macaulay sentenced Stephen James Smith, 21, to 33 months on one felony count of third-degree...
A Cloquet man received three concurrent prison sentences last week for three drug crimes committed in both March and July in Carlton County.
Judge Robert Macaulay sentenced Stephen James Smith, 21, to 33 months on one felony count of third-degree possession of heroin for his role in an incident that occurred on March 4. A gross misdemeanor charge of introducing drugs into a jail facility was dismissed as part of a plea agreement. He also sentenced Smith to 39 months on one felony count of second-degree possession of 6 grams of heroin for an incident on March 19.
In addition, Smith was also sentenced to 39 months on one felony count of third-degree possession of heroin for his role in a third incident that took place on July 19, to be served at the same time as the other two sentences. Charges of fifth-degree possession of a controlled substance, fleeing police in a motor vehicle, first-degree criminal damage to property, introducing drugs into a jail facility, fourth-degree assault on a police officer, fleeing on foot and reckless driving were dismissed through the plea agreement.
According to Carlton County Attorney Thom Pertler, Smith’s attorney, Sonia Sturdevant, had recommended that Smith go to drug court in lieu of a prison sentence but he was not accepted.
According to court documents, in the first incident Smith was apprehended after two Cloquet police officers observed a vehicle pass them at a high rate of speed as they were traveling southbound on I-35. After performing a traffic stop, they found that Smith, who was driving the vehicle, had had his driver’s license revoked and that he had a warrant out for his arrest in St. Louis County.
Smith was taken into custody and transported to the Carlton County Law Enforcement Center. During the booking process, jail staff discovered that Smith had controlled substances on him, packaged in aluminum foil containing smaller bindles of heroin. Smith was formally charged with one felony count of third-degree possession of heroin and one count of introducing drugs into a jail facility. Judge Dale Wolf set bail at $1,500 bond or $150 cash.
Smith posted bail, and two weeks later, on March 19, he was apprehended for shoplifting at the Cloquet Wal-Mart store with a 21-year-old Duluth woman. When officers searched Smith, they 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. He was transported back to the Carlton County Law Enforcement Center and later charged with one felony count of second-degree possession of a controlled substance. This time bail was set at $40,000 bond or $4,000 cash. He posted bail on April 28.
Then, on July 20, a Fond du Lac Tribal Police Department officer was in the parking lot at the McDonald’s restaurant in Cloquet at approximately 6:48 a.m. when he observed a vehicle entering the drive-through driven by a man he recognized as Smith. In performing a records check, the officer found there were several outstanding warrants against Smith, so he began to follow Smith’s vehicle while awaiting backup. A traffic stop was made shortly thereafter and Smith was placed under arrest and brought toward the officer’s squad car. However, Smith managed to get away from the officer, run back to his car and jump into the driver’s seat. A second officer who had arrived on the scene drew his Taser and administered it after Smith refused to get out of the car. The Taser apparently had little effect on Smith and he placed his vehicle into gear and drove away.
Officers pursued the vehicle at speeds in excess of 80 miles per hour, ending up on Red Pine Trail, where officers managed to block Smith’s vehicle on the dead end road. Smith then drove his vehicle into the officers’ squad car twice and attempted to flee before driving into a ditch. He then jumped out of the car and ran into the woods. With the help of Cloquet police officers who had arrived on the scene, Smith was eventually caught and taken into custody. In a subsequent search, officers located 2.1 grams of heroin in Smith’s pocket. Later, at the jail, an additional 3.1 grams of heroin were located in Smith’s rectal area.
Smith has been no stranger to authorities in recent years. In August 2012, he was shot in the foot by alleged Native Mob member Michael William Siewert of Duluth, who was later found guilty in the death of Floodwood woman Cristyna Watson. According to the criminal complaint filed in that case, Smith was also suspected of being a Native Mob gang member and was purportedly shot in the foot as punishment “for certain gang-related activity.”
Smith has also had numerous charges filed against him, dating back to 2011, including liquor consumption by a minor, carrying a pistol without a permit, theft, fifth-degree assault, fleeing a peace officer and several traffic charges.