Federal prosecutors revealed indictments against three young men in February. They say the three and others conspired to possess and distribute drugs in relation to a total of five overdoses that caused serious bodily injury and death.
The indictments follow the deaths of a 19-year-old and 16-year-old in Grand Forks on July 16, 2014, and Jan. 3, respectively. According to the indictments, one 20-year-old and two 18-year-olds are accused of conspiring to possess and distribute narcotics causing injury or death. Others have also been accused of conspiracy. They allegedly distributed ecstasy, fentanyl and heroin in the state and Oregon.
Both 18-year-old men pleaded not guilty in their first court appearances. One of them was released with conditions while he awaits his next court appearance. The other young man remained in custody until it could be determined if he could be released with conditions as well. He was one of the overdose cases and received treatment in a hospital prior to his detainment. During his initial hearing on Feb. 23, the young defendant said he is chemically dependent after using methamphetamine and opiates for a couple years.
Facing drug possession and distribution charges in connection with the injury or death of others holds serious consequences for convicted defendants. These consequences might include imprisonment and fines, as well as an impact on the defendants' personal lives.
If the defendants hire private defense attorneys to help them protect their rights, the attorneys could expose that police illegally searched for evidence or violated other rights. The attorneys might also be able to demonstrate that the defendants had no knowledge of the drugs and were not involved. The court may not have any other choice but to dismiss the evidence and drop the charges.
Source: Grand Forks Herald, "Grand Forks man makes court appearance on drug charges," Sarah Volpenhein, Feb. 23, 2015
Source: The Bismarck Tribune, "Second teen appears in federal court in drug overdose cases," Feb. 24, 2015
Source: WDAZ, "Third man charged in federal drug conspiracy case involving 2 deaths," Sarah Volpenhein, Feb. 25, 2015