Three charged with drug crimes following extensive investigation

The Chisago County Attorney’s Office has reviewed a number of cases stemming from investigative work last fall by the East Central Drug and Violent Offender Task Force.

Seven individuals have been charged with narcotics violations as a result of the Task Force investigation. Two of them, Roger Allen Blahowski, 56, and Catherine Ann Nahl, 51, both of Harris, have made initial appearances in Chisago County District Court on charges stemming from an incident on Aug. 13, 2013, said County Attorney Janet Reiter.

Blahowski, who was charged with third-degree sale of narcotics, had a court appearance set for Dec. 30, 2013.

Nahl, charged with aiding and abetting third-degree sale and a second count of third-degree sale of narcotics, was scheduled to appear on Jan. 6.

Both remain in custody, Reiter noted.

In a separate investigation by the Task Force, a search warrant was executed at a residence on East Fourth Street in Rush City on Nov. 22, 2013.

Present were four children and five adults, including Dawn Elizabeth Soutter, 32, of New Brighton, who was arrested in connection with possessing a controlled substance and paraphernalia in a home where children were present, Reiter said.

This case is set for an omnibus hearing on Jan. 22 and jury trial on Feb. 3.

According to the court complaints:

On Aug. 13, Task Force agents met with confidential informants on an agreement they made to purchase 3.5 grams of methamphetamine from Nahl at a residence in Harris.

The informants, under constant surveillance by agents, were provided with listening devices and pre-recorded money for purchasing the substance.

At the residence, the informants made contact with Nahl who requested they follow her to a nearby location where Blahowski sold them a substance for $120. It later field-tested positive for meth, which with the packaging weighed 1 gram.

The informants also positively identified Nahl and Blahowski after reviewing photographs.

On Oct. 15, agents again met with the informants who arranged for another meth buy from Nahl in Rush City. There, Nahl sold the informants a substance for $140 that later tested positive for meth, which with the packaging weighed 1.7 grams.

Nahl’s criminal history shows felony controlled substance convictions on Sept. 15, 2004, and Aug. 23, 2004, along with numerous prior failures to be appear for court.

At the time of the complaint, she had an active warrant out of Mille Lacs County.

Blahowski’s criminal history shows felony controlled substance convictions on July 19, 2004, and Dec. 19, 2006. His history also indicates three prior failures to appear for court since 2008.

In the other investigation, officers from the Chisago County Sheriff’s Office and the Task Force on Nov. 22 executed a search warrant at a residence on East Fourth Street in Rush City.

During the search, authorities found five adults, including Soutter, and four children ranging in age from 7 months to 12 years. Two of the youths were Soutter’s children.

Officers located several items, including the suspect’s cellphone, purse, a makeup bag containing about 1 gram of a substance that later tested positive for meth, a glass smoking pipe and $1,117 in an upstairs bedroom.

In addition, officers found needles, consistent with those used to inject heroin, in a backpack behind a couch in the living room. It was particularly noted they would have been accessible to the children in the residence.

The adults in the residence said they had used the needles to inject heroin, and the fathers of the children admitted to smoking meth in the residence.

The children were placed on a 72-hour protective hold.

Additional charges and details surrounding the investigative work by local officers and the East Central Drug and Violent Offender Task Force will be reported as such information becomes available.