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City commissioner charged with cocaine possession

A member of a St. Paul Park city commission has been charged with cocaine possession after police found a small amount of the narcotic in a box loaded with drug paraphernalia that the defendant's parents turned over to police last year.

Nicholas Robert Dingle, 24, was charged in Washington County District Court with felony fifth-degree possession of a schedule 1, 2, 3 or 4 drug after St. Paul Park Police discovered a white, powdery substance that tested positive for the presence of cocaine in a box belonging to him.

Dingle is a member of the Parks and Recreation Commission in St. Paul Park.

The drugs were discovered last August when Dingle's mother, St. Paul Park City Council member Sandi Dingle, gave a steel box belonging to her son to police.

According to the Washington County District Court complaint, police found drug paraphernalia, including a vial containing a small amount of cocaine, inside the container.

The complaint said Dingle was in a St. Cloud jail after a DWI arrest when he asked his parents to pawn his video game system for bail money. His parents grabbed the gray steel box out of the camper where Dingle was living thinking it was part of the game system.

Dingle's mother told St. Paul Park Police she turned over the box and its contents because she did not want to throw them in the garbage.

The box was his, Dingle confirmed to police when interviewed in November, as were all the contents other than the vial. The vial, he said, belonged to a friend.

Dingle said he had taken it from the friend while at a St. Paul Park bar and dumped out the contents, which he assumed to be cocaine. Dingle said he had not gotten around to tossing the contents in the garbage, according to the court complaint.

If free of any prior controlled substance convictions, Dingle would face up to five years in prison if found guilty, or up to 10 years if it is a second conviction.