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2 accused of link to 'spice' sales at Brainerd High School

Both Gabriel Levi Chips (L) and Cassandra Marie Kruger (R) are facing five felony counts each. These include a charge for third-degree sale of schedule 1, 2 or 3 drugs to people under 18 years old and a third-degree charge of conspiring with/employing a person under 18 years old to sell drugs. Kruger also faces three fifth-degree drug possession charges, while Chips faces two fifth-degree drug possession charges along with a fifth-degree sale of marijuana mixture charge.1 / 3
Gabriel Levi Chips2 / 3
Cassandra Marie Kruger3 / 3

Jury trials for two Brainerd residents accused of multiple counts of felony drug sales are scheduled for later this month.

According to criminal complaints filed against 26-year-old Cassandra Marie Kruger and 21-year-old Gabriel Levi Chips, both of Brainerd, the pair was involved in the sale and distribution of a variety of illegal substances. This allegedly included the employ of juveniles to sell synthetic cannabinoids at Brainerd High School, including to two students who in December 2015 were suspended for possessing the drugs.

The National Institute on Drug Abuse reports synthetic cannabinoids "refer to a growing number of man-made mind-altering chemicals that are either sprayed on dried, shredded plant material so they can be smoked (herbal incense) or sold as liquids to be vaporized and inhaled in e-cigarettes and other devices (liquid incense)."

Information implicating Chips and Kruger in drug sales from an inmate at the Crow Wing County Jail in January tipped off investigators with the Lakes Area Drug Investigative Division. According to the tipster, the pair was selling heroin, prescription pills and synthetic cannabinoids, sometimes called spice, from an apartment on the 700 block of Kingwood Street. The individual reported witnessing Chips remove 30 to 40 bundles of heroin from his pocket that were ultimately sold from the apartment.

Customers for these drugs allegedly included a "constant stream" of juveniles, estimated to be between 13 and 15 years old. The apartment is located in close proximity to The Shop, a teen center on Washington Street, which concerned the tipster according to the complaint.

Based on this information coupled with information gathered from calls for service to the residence in question, investigators executed a search warrant of the apartment on Jan. 6. Kruger and Chips were both located in the residence. Chips, who had an active warrant for failing to appear on a previous felony charge, was allegedly hiding in the shower.

Items recovered during the search included a digital scale with suspected synthetic cannabinoid residue on it, 97.6 grams of suspected synthetic cannabinoid, clear plastic bags and cash. Several prescription pills, including controlled substances Lorazepam and Clonazepam, were also found in the apartment.

Approximately 1 gram of a white powdery substance that later tested positive as methamphetamine was recovered, along with two glass pipes with the same residue.

Both Chips and Kruger are facing five felony counts each. These include a charge for third-degree sale of schedule 1, 2 or 3 drugs to people under 18 years old and a third-degree charge of conspiring with/employing a person under 18 years old to sell drugs. Kruger also faces three fifth-degree drug possession charges, while Chips faces two fifth-degree drug possession charges along with a fifth-degree sale of marijuana mixture charge. Both are currently housed in the Crow Wing County Jail awaiting trial.

Each of the accused have multiple criminal convictions in the past, according to Minnesota court records.

Kruger was most recently convicted of felony fifth-degree drug possession in Crow Wing County in 2014. Other convictions include two driving while intoxicated offenses in Crow Wing County in 2010, disorderly conduct-brawling or fighting convictions in 2007 and 2011 in Stearns County and several other traffic-related infractions and underage liquor consumption.

Chips has two previous felony convictions, both for fifth-degree drug possession in Crow Wing County in 2014. He was also convicted of gross misdemeanor fifth-degree assault in 2013 in Crow Wing County, misdemeanor possession of synthetic cannabinoids in 2014 in Crow Wing County, two misdemeanor theft convictions in 2014 in Blue Earth and Crow Wing counties, misdemeanor fifth-degree assault in Crow Wing County and misdemeanor tampering with a motor vehicle/entering without an owner's permission in 2015 in Wabasha County. Several other convictions are on Chips' record for minor liquor consumption, possession of drug paraphernalia and traffic-related offenses.

CHELSEY PERKINS may be reached at 218-855-5874 or chelsey.perkins@brainerddispatch.com. Follow on Twitter at www.twitter.com/DispatchChelsey.

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