By Reed Anfinson
Three Elbow Lake residents face charges after the Grant County Sheriff’s Office executed a search warrant at the home of Michael Mardelle Buck, 63, at 914 2nd Street SE, last Wednesday.
When Buck answered the door at about 11:18 a.m. March 15, he was served with the warrant and placed in custody. Also arrested at the residence were Scot Ellingson, 53, and Jennifer Fisher, 54.
Buck faces four felony charges related to possession and sale of controlled substances, specifically, methamphetamine.
Ellingson faces one felony count of possession of meth and Fischer is charged with gross misdemeanor possession of meth.
According to the complaint filed against Buck in Grant County 8th Judicial District Court, a special agent with the West Central MN Drug and Violent Crime Task Force met with a Special Agent with the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension (BCA) and a confidential informant Nov. 7 to make a meth buy in Elbow Lake.
The informant told the officers he had been in contact with Buck for the purchase of one ounce of meth for $700. The informant was provided with $700 in “documented buy fund money,” the complaint says. A wireless recording device was also placed on the informant. The informant then went to Buck’s residence.
During the meth buy, agents heard the informant and another person in the house discussing the weight of the bags. After leaving the house, the informant turned over a clear zip top baggie containing what was believed to be meth to the agents, the complaint states.
Agents were told by the informant that he had handed the $700 to Buck and received he baggie with the substance that later tested positive as methamphetamine. It weighed 31.0 grams.
Nine days later, Nov. 16, the informant was used to make a $400 meth purchase at the Buck residence. Over the wire, the agents heard the informant being asked how much he needed. The informant asked for half an ounce, which the complaint states Buck gave him. The amount was equal to 16.6 grams.
March 7 the Grant County Sheriff’s Office arranged for a trash pull from at Buck’s home. In the search, officers found papers containing the names of Buck, Ellingson, and Fisher, the complaint states. They also found a “broken pen tube and a small piece of used tape or crumpled plastic that both field tested positive for methamphetamine,” it adds.
In the March 15 law enforcement action at Buck’s Elbow Lake residence, officers also found cannabis plants growing in five-gallon buckets in the basement.
In a search of the Buck garage, officers found multiple pieces of tubing with a white residue, a bowl of what appeared to be raw marijuana, and various paraphernalia, the complaint says. There was also .22 rifle ammunition and a magazine for the ammunition. In an upstairs closet deputies found a Glenfield Model .22 caliber firearm.
When Ellingson was placed under arrest and searched, officers found 28.0 grams of meth on him.
A clear glass smoking pipe with residue that tested positive for meth was found on the bedstand in the house next to the bed in which Fisher slept, the complaint states.
A magnetic safe containing multiple bags of meth weighing 104 grams was also found.
Buck has twice been convicted of felony controlled substance crimes in the fifth degree, once in February 1992, and again in November 2016, “which are crimes of violence,” the sheriff’s report states, the complaint states.
Buck charges and court appearance
At his court appearance in Grant County 8th Judicial District County last Friday, Buck’s unconditional release bail or bond was set at $100,000, while his conditional release was set at $5,000.
Conditions of his release included abstaining from alcohol and non-prescription mood-altering substances, no use or possession of firearms or ammunition, random drug testing, maintaining contact with his attorney, keep the court and his attorney aware of his current address and phone number, and not leave the state without court approval.
Buck was granted a public defender for his case. He is scheduled for a Rule 8 hearing Friday, March 31. At a Rule 8 hearing, a defendant either enters a guilty plea or requests an omnibus hearing at which a plea is entered. At the omnibus hearing, the defendant can also challenge the constitutionality of his arrest.
Buck is charged with the following:
Count 1: Controlled substance crime in the first degree with a maximum sentence of not more than 30 years in prison and a fine of $1 million.
Count: 2: Controlled substance crime in the first degree. It carries a maximum sentence of 30 years in prison and a $1 million fine.
Count 3: Controlled substance crime in the second degree, which carries a maximum sentence of 25 years in prison and a fine of $500,000.
Count 4: Felon in possession of a firearm, which carries a maximum sentence of 15 years in prison and a fine of $30,000.
Ellingson charges and court appearance
Ellingson is charged with a controlled substance crime in the second degree, which carries a maximum sentence of 25 years in prison and a fine of $500,000.
At his court appearance last Friday, Ellingson’s unconditional release bail or bond was set at $10,000, while his conditional release was set at $1,000.
Conditions of his release included abstaining from alcohol and non-prescription mood-altering substances, random drug testing, maintaining contact with his attorney, keep the court and his attorney aware of his current address and phone number, and not leave the state without court approval. He will be allowed to be furloughed directly to treatment if a bed becomes available.
Ellingson was granted a public defender for his case. He is scheduled for a Rule 8 hearing Friday, March 31.
Fisher charges and court appearance
Fischer is charged with a controlled substance crime in the fifth degree, which carries a maximum sentence of one year in jail and a $3,000 fine. There was no deposit required for her conditional release, but an unconditional release was set at $1,000 at her hearing last Friday.
Conditions of her release included abstaining from alcohol and mood-altering substances, random drug testing, maintaining contact with her attorney, keep the court and her attorney aware of her current address and phone number.
Fisher is scheduled for a Rule 8 hearing Friday, March 31.
According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), methamphetamine is a powerful, highly addictive stimulant that affects the central nervous system. It takes the form of a white, odorless, bitter-tasting crystalline powder that easily dissolves in water or alcohol.
The drug can be easily made in small clandestine laboratories, with relatively inexpensive over-the-counter ingredients such as pseudoephedrine, a common ingredient in cold medications, according to the NIH.
In addition to being addicted to meth, people who use it long term may exhibit symptoms that can include significant anxiety, confusion, insomnia, mood disturbances, and violent behavior, the NIH says. They also may display a number of psychotic features, including paranoia, visual and auditory hallucinations, and delusions (for example, the sensation of insects creeping under the skin), it adds.
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