Brainerd officer responds to car in snowbank, makes drug arrest

The officer arrested the 47-year-old Red Lake man for driving after cancellation while a danger to public safety and began a search.


An early morning call to a vehicle stuck in a snowbank during the winter storm Monday, Dec. 27, led a Brainerd police officer to make an arrest after finding drugs, alcohol and guns inside.

At about 6:30 a.m., the officer responded to the intersection of Washington and Northeast Third streets and found a vehicle running with its lights on and a man exiting the driver’s seat. The man approached the officer and identified himself as James White, stating there was a warrant for his arrest and he was a convicted felon, according to the criminal complaint. White then said he’d been run off the road by a person from whom he’d stolen a black bag.

James White mug.jpg
James White. Contributed

The officer checked White’s information and found no active warrants, but learned his driver’s license was canceled as White was deemed a threat to public safety. The officer arrested the 47-year-old Red Lake man for the offense and then began a search.


On White’s person, the officer found a plastic baggie of a white, powdery substance consistent with cocaine or fentanyl, a Cheetos bag with several other baggies containing what appeared to be methamphetamine and $728 in cash, the complaint stated.

In the vehicle, the officer reported finding another baggie of meth, a spoon with white residue, empty beer cans and open bottles of apparent alcohol. Behind the front passenger seat within arm’s reach of the driver, the officer found a black duffel bag containing a handgun, two empty magazines, a scale and several rolls of coins. The handgun displayed no serial number, make or model, the complaint stated. The trunk contained another handgun — a Taurus 9 mm — with a bullet in the chamber and a loaded magazine next to it.

The officer transported White to the Crow Wing County Jail, where he admitted to recent meth use and was instead transported to the Brainerd hospital for a medical evaluation before returning to jail.

At the jail, the officer weighed and tested the substances found in the search, confirming a total of more than 85 grams of meth and 30.4 grams of the other substance. The second substance was not tested at the time to avoid the officer handling the powder.

The Crow Wing County Attorney’s Office charged White with two felony first-degree possession charges and gross misdemeanors for possession of ammunition and firearms as a felon and driving after cancellation-inimical to public safety. White made his first appearance Wednesday before Crow Wing County Judge Patricia A. Aanes. He remained in jail as of Wednesday afternoon.

White was most recently convicted for felony fleeing a peace officer in a motor vehicle in 2020 in Beltrami County and has a lengthy list of other convictions, including felonies, dating back to 1992, according to Minnesota court records.

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