Law works on sting since JanuaryAfter undercover agents infiltrated Stark County drug trafficking operations in January, officials identified 23 suspects. By Friday, they had arrested 17 people, according to a press release from the Stark County State’s Attorney’s office.
After undercover agents infiltrated Stark County drug trafficking operations in January, officials identified 23 suspects. By Friday, they had arrested 17 people, according to a press release from the Stark County State’s Attorney’s office.
Involving mainly methamphetamine and prescription pills, the operation included undercover police buying drugs and several people have been charged for alleged delivery and possession of a controlled substance.
Some of those issued a warrant have not been located.
Bond for those charged with Class A felonies was set at $1,500, with two conditions — offenders cannot leave the state and waived extradition during hearings Friday.
As of late Friday afternoon, six of the arrested had posted bond.
Criminal complaints were not filed immediately after the offenses occurred as to allow a more extensive investigation. Once complaints are filed, they become public knowledge, said Stark County State’s Attorney Tom Henning.
“If you go ahead and try to follow up right away, you end up not being able to use your same undercover network … once your network is blown you’re not going to get anymore out of it,” Henning said.
Criminal complaints were filed Wednesday and Thursday.
“Even though on the surface it doesn’t appear that anything is going on, there are investigations ongoing all the time and this is a result of a rather lengthy investigation,” said Dickinson Police Department Chief Chuck Rummel.
Nick Gates, South Sakakawea Narcotics Task Force investigator, said 21 officials from several agencies assisted in Thursday’s operation.
Rummel said the busts across Stark County were conducted nearly simultaneously.
“(Offenders) all know each other but they don’t all run in the same circle,” Rummel said.
Gates said 12 individuals were arrested in connection with the initial “roundup” and the North Dakota Highway Patrol also brought in three individuals.
Some of the arrested happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time, with a search of their vehicle or person turning up drugs or paraphernalia, Gates said.
The majority of charges include alleged delivery and possession of a controlled substance, whether methamphetamine or prescription pills such as Vicodin, hydromorphone and methadone.
Officials could not confirm drug amounts or weights.
“What’s significant in these cases is the delivery,” Henning said. “That’s what ramps up the offense. In this instance, virtually all the people that are charged with delivery are charged as having been in the act of delivery.”
Stark County Social Services was also involved in the operation as some of the offenders have children.
“Usually there is placement until Social Services can investigate further on the welfare of the children,” Rummel said.
A drug sting of this size hasn’t been done since the early 80s, Rummel said, but its long-term affects are difficult to gauge.
“It’ll make the general populous involved nervous for a while,” Henning said. “As to whether it’ll have any lasting effect, that’s a wait and see thing.”