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Agents seize more than 3 pounds of meth, ammunition and cash

Arrested were (l to r) : Charles Ford, 60, Backus, for fifth-degree drugs; Doug Melby Jr., 59, Pequot Lakes, for first-degree drugs and possession of a pistol/weapon ammunition by an ineligible person; Richard Kinnunen, 52, Brainerd, for fifth-degree drugs and a probation violation; and a 26-year-old Pine River woman and a 52-year-old Crosby woman for probation violations.1 / 4
Charles Ford2 / 4
Doug Melby Jr3 / 4
Richard Kinnunen4 / 4

Lakes Area Drug Investigative Division agents seized an estimated $16,000 in street value worth of methamphetamines and arrests were made during a Thursday, July 5, operation.

Crow Wing County Sheriff Todd Dahl in a news release reported a number of people were arrested Thursday for drug offenses and probation violations at a residence on the 10000 block of Crow Wing County Highway 16 in Ideal Township. Law enforcement officers from LADID, the Crow Wing County Sheriff's Office and the Baxter Police Department executed a search warrant at 9:24 a.m. LADID located more than 3 pounds of methamphetamine, a large amount of cash and ammunition inside the residence.

"These arrests were the result of a continuing investigation and tips from our public," Dahl stated in the release. "A case like this is a perfect example of our office working with the public to get these drugs out of our community and arrest those involved."

Arrested were: Doug Melby Jr., 59, Pequot Lakes, for first-degree drugs and possession of a pistol/weapon ammunition by an ineligible person; Charles Ford, 60, Backus, for fifth-degree drugs; Richard Kinnunen, 52, Brainerd, for fifth-degree drugs and a probation violation; and a 26-year-old Pine River woman and a 52-year-old Crosby woman for probation violations.

According to the probable cause court document filed against Melby, a narcotics investigator received information Melby was receiving meth delivered to his residence in Pequot Lakes via UPS. The investigator contacted UPS and requested notification when a package was being delivered to Melby's address. On July 5, UPS notified the agent a package from California to "Ruby Monde" at Melby's address would be delivered the next day by air. Agents conducted a package lineup with multiple same-sized packages lined up with the package in question, the complaint stated. Baxter K9 Rossi alerted to the package to be delivered to Melby's residence.

A search warrant was applied for and granted for the package. The agent opened the package and observed a gift bag with two stuffed animals, which were heavier than normal and contained hard, square objects. The agent noted the animals were cut open and hand-stitched together. The agent opened one stuffed animal and located one foreign object the size of a quart bag wrapped tightly with plastic wrap. The agent poked the bag to expose the inner contents, which appeared to be methamphetamine. A field test was positive for methamphetamine and the package weighed 1.07 pounds. The agent repackaged the box, including the animal with two foreign objects, but withheld the examined stuffed animal and 1.07 pounds of methamphetamine.

The agent then applied for and was granted an anticipatory search warrant for the residence pending delivery of the package. At 12:55 p.m., the agent working in an undercover capacity traveled to the residence and walked up the driveway, where he observed Melby exiting. Melby began to converse with the agent and reached out and accepted the package while saying thank you.

At 1:09 p.m. the agent and assisting law enforcement traveled back to the residence to execute the warrant. Ford, Kinnunen, Melby and the two women were all located inside.

Located on a bathroom closet shelf was what appeared to be 2 pounds of methamphetamine. The bags appeared to be torn open. An agent later collected the bags and a spilled quantity as evidence. The substance inside the bags as well as the spilled quantity of substance field tested positive for methamphetamine.

Located in Melby's bedroom were three flip phones; a drug kit containing dirty meth spoons, baggies and a digital scale; and $1,700 under a mattress. Additionally, the gift bag from the controlled delivery, plastic wrapping matching what was observed from the withheld stuffed animal, a memory card from a digital camera and 63 rounds of .22 ammunition were seized. Also located in the closet were two bulletproof vests.

Located within a vehicle belonging to Ford, who provided consent to search, was a zippered pouch with glass methamphetamine pipe and plastic bags containing meth.

In the kitchen area was a backpack with Kinnunen's wallet inside. Within the backpack was a hypodermic needle, which field tested positive for meth, and 1 1/2 pills identified as Clonazepam, a controlled substance.

Melby has convictions for third-degree possession of controlled substance from May 2018, June 2014 and April 1999; fifth-degree possession of a controlled substance from November 2016, February 2013, November 2005 and January 2002; fleeing police in a vehicle in May 2018 and a felon in possession of a firearm in September 2005.

Kinnunen has a conviction for third-degree sale of a controlled substance from May 2017.

Three of the five have since been charged in Crow Wing County District Court as a result of the incident.

• Melby was charged with four felonies of first-degree aggravated controlled substance crimes, first-degree possession of a controlled substance, a felon in possession of a firearm and possessing a bulletproof vest.

• Kinnunen was charged with fifth-degree sale of a controlled substance.

• Ford was charged with fifth-degree drug possession.

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