Probation ordered for defendants in Cottage Grove heroin caseCourt records show that Washington County drug task force officers used a confidential informant earlier this year to buy a bag of heroin in a Cottage Grove parking lot, and two people involved in the deal have pleaded guilty to drug charges while the third awaits court action.
By: Scott Wente, South Washington County Bulletin
Criminal cases are proceeding against three south Washington County residents charged in connection with the sale of heroin.
Court records show that Washington County drug task force officers used a confidential informant earlier this year to buy a bag of heroin in a Cottage Grove parking lot, and two people involved in the deal have pleaded guilty to drug charges while the third awaits court action.
The arrests came as east-metro law enforcement officers started drawing attention to what they saw as a dangerous increase in the amount of heroin being dealt in area communities, particularly among young adults.
In the Cottage Grove case, a man who admitted to selling heroin and one woman who was with him at the time recently were ordered to complete probation and follow other guidelines after they each pleaded guilty to a drug charge. Washington County District Court judges issued stays of adjudication in their cases, meaning if they successfully complete their probation terms they could avoid formal felony convictions.
Megan R. Nelson, 19, was ordered to spend a year on probation during a Sept. 12 hearing after she pleaded guilty to aiding the possession of a fifth-degree controlled substance. Other court conditions included remaining law-abiding and not using drugs or alcohol.
In an Aug. 29 hearing, Samuel B. Vassar, 18, of St. Paul Park, pleaded guilty to fifth-degree possession of a controlled substance and was place on a one-year probation and ordered to meet other conditions as part of the stay of adjudication issued by a judge.
A third person involved, 19-year-old Camie L. Lund of Cottage Grove, pleaded guilty in July to aiding the possession of a fifth-degree controlled substance. Her sentencing hearing is scheduled for Sept. 26.
According to the criminal complaints filed against the three:
Drug investigators set up a heroin buy with a confidential informant on April 11, 2012. The informant gave Vassar $40 when they met at Park High School. Nelson and Lund were in the car with Vassar.
Later that day, the informant met Vassar at the Target store parking lot in Cottage Grove, where Vassar provided a small bag of heroin to the informant. Nelson and Lund were in the car with Vassar.
Shortly after the deal was made, police stopped Vassar’s vehicle and made arrests.
In police interviews, Vassar said he orchestrated the sale and Nelson admitted she and Lund were involved in buying the heroin and all three had “pinched” some for themselves before the bag was given to the informant.
A crime laboratory tested the drug and confirmed it was 0.05 grams of heroin.
The complaint says when Vassar was arrested police found two dirty heroin needles in his shorts pockets.