Grand Forks residents arraigned for fentanyl trafficking, other drug crimes

Dec. 1—GRAND FORKS — A Grand Forks man and woman charged with drug trafficking and other crimes had their preliminary hearing and were arraigned on Wednesday, Nov. 30.

Jeremy Spencer Woolsey, 29, is charged with possession of fentanyl and methamphetamine with intent to manufacture or deliver (Class B felonies) and simple assault on an officer (a Class C felony).

Chloe Anne Rand, 21, is charged with possession of fentanyl with intent to manufacture or deliver (a Class B felony) and three Class C felonies for unlawful possession of drug paraphernalia (a Class C felony), possession of a schedule IV depressant and possession of a schedule V depressant. Her possession charges are Class C felonies due to her prior convictions for possession of drug paraphernalia and methamphetamine.

Each Class B felony charge has a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison and $20,000 in fines. Each Class C felony charge has a maximum sentence of five years in prison and $10,000.

Rand and Woolsey were stopped in a silver 2007 Chevrolet Malibu on the 4200 block of DeMers Aveue around 12:25 p.m. on Oct. 27. The stop was conducted by Deputy James Wright of the Grand Forks County Sheriff's Office.

According to an affidavit in the case, Woolsey was "visibly shaking" and smoking a cigarette. Wright instructed Woolsey to exit the vehicle, which he did. Woolsey reached into his pocket multiple times despite Wright telling him not to.

Wright told Woolsey he was going to be handcuffed and then grabbed his wrists. Woolsey resisted and reached into his pocket, according to the affidavit. Woolsey was tackled to the ground and continued resisting. He kicked task force officer Joy Muniz in the ankle, causing a minor injury. Woolsey threw a container off to the side during the altercation.

Woolsey was handcuffed and placed under arrest. Law enforcement located the container which contained 17 fentanyl pills. During a search of the vehicle, 1.4 grams of methamphetamine was also found. In Wright's testimony, he said money found on Woolsey was seized. There was a total of approximately $200 in cash.

According to the affidavit, Woolsey said he sold both drugs but only used methamphetamine.

Wright testified that Woolsey said he has traveled to Fargo to buy fentanyl "for quite some time." He bought 100 pills and brought them to Grand Forks to sell.

Rand was searched by Muniz. In Rand's posession, Muniz found 18 fentanyl pills, 13 gabapentin, three zolpidem tartrate and three clonazepam.

During the preliminary hearing, Wright testified he was in communication with the Grand Forks Narcotics Task Force on Oct. 27. He informed them by phone call he had observed Woolsey's vehicle. The GFNTF had been looking for Woolsey after receiving reports of him allegedly selling fentanyl.

Both Rand and Woolsey's legal counsel (Tyler J. Morrow and David Neil Ogren, respectively) made statements that they were unaware Wright had been in contact with members of the task force prior to the traffic stop.

Wright also testified that, though he conducted the traffic stop, he did not observe the traffic violation. Woolsey's legal counsel, Ogren, made an argument that Wright's lack of firsthand observation of the violation and the lack of documentation made the stop — as well as the subsequent searches and arrests — "highly suspect."

Ogren asked for both cases to be dismissed.

Wright testified that a task force officer found a text in Rand's phone that said "Blues for $35". Fentanyl pills are commonly referred to as blues.

Rand's legal counsel, Morrow, argued there was no probable cause for Rand distributing fentanyl prior to the discovery of the text messages, making her charge for possession with intent to manufacture or deliver baseless. Based on this as well as the smoking device found in the vehicle and the lack of cash in Rand's possession, Morrow asked for the charge to be dismissed.

"We do not have a system where we charge out and hope that evidence will show up," Morrow said.

Justine Soraya Hesselbart, representing the state, argued that the amount of fentanyl pills found speaks for itself.

"We know one pill is enough to kill someone, Judge," Hesselbart said.

Judge Lolita Romanick determined there was probable cause for all charges to remain and both cases to continue.

Rand and Woolsey's final dispositional conference is scheduled for Feb. 9.