Lantz pleads not guilty to chargesA Stark County man will proceed with further hearings on two felony and one misdemeanor drug charge.
By: Betsy Simon, The Dickinson Press
A Stark County man will proceed with further hearings on two felony and one misdemeanor drug charge.
Ronald Lantz, 53, pleaded not guilty to all charges Monday at a preliminary hearing at the Stark County Courthouse.
He was allegedly found Sept. 14 to be in possession of two baggies of methamphetamine, and it is believed that he intended to deliver, which is a Class A felony, according to the criminal complaint.
Less than one gram of marijuana was found in a backpack that belonged to Lantz.
Also found in Lantz’s possession were syringes and a scale, according to the criminal complaint.
Law enforcement was led to Lantz after a female friend of a victim in a September fatal car accident informed Sgt. Dan Haugen of the North Dakota Highway Patrol that the victim had purchased methamphetamine from Lantz prior to the accident.
Haugen, who testified Monday at a preliminary hearing on the drug charges, said the female gave him an address with Lantz’s whereabouts and Haugen said he gave that address to the Southwest Narcotics Task Force.
Stark County State’s Attorney Tom Henning said the state believes that Lantz intended to sell the substances found in the apartment, given that Haugen had testified to hearsay information that Lantz had previously sold meth to a man who later died in a car crash.
But McCabe said the state showed that Lantz was in possession of the drugs, but not that he had intent to deliver them.
Judge H. Patrick Weir questioned whether having a scale in the defendant’s possession was enough to show intent to deliver the substances, and Henning said he believed it does.
“The scale is used to weigh out the drug, and the only reason you weigh it out is for delivery,” Henning said. “We also have testimonial evidence in hearsay for delivery. Then, the scale was found with residue on it.”
If convicted of all three counts, Lantz’s faces up to 27 years in prison and a $17,000 fine.