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Jury convicts man in meth case

LITTLE FALLS--A Morrison County District Court jury took less than an hour last week to convict Ronald Lee Schlangen of first- and second-degree possession of a controlled substance.

Ronald Lee Schlangen
Ronald Lee Schlangen

LITTLE FALLS-A Morrison County District Court jury took less than an hour last week to convict Ronald Lee Schlangen of first- and second-degree possession of a controlled substance.

A routine traffic stop and warrant check led to the discovery of 130.4 grams of methamphetamine in Schlangen's vehicle, a news release from the Morrison County Attorney's Office stated.

On Feb. 23, Minnesota State Trooper Nick Otterson observed a vehicle with a cracked windshield traveling on Highway 10 in Morrison County. Otterson ran the license plates numbers which revealed that Schlangen, 38, of St. Cloud, was the registered owner and there was an outstanding warrant for his arrest. Schlangen was a passenger in his vehicle. The female driver appeared to be under the influence, was arrested and a pipe with meth residue was found in her possession.

Otterson next conducted a search of the vehicle and located a pink, flowered box that was next to where Schlangen had been seated in the vehicle. Otterson opened the box and observed a large clear baggie with crystalline shards suspected to be meth. A subsequent search warrant located a green bag also contained suspected meth.

The suspected meth was tested and weighed by the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension laboratory. Meth and $4,900 in $100 bills next to the drugs in the flowered box were found. Schlangen's wallet was found to contain an additional $2,515.

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Schlangen was found guilty of possessing the meth found in his vehicle following a three-day jury trial.

Assistant County Attorney Morrison Mike Chisum prosecuted the case.

"The jury was able to convict Mr. Schlangen quickly because of the overwhelming evidence of his guilt," Chisum stated in the release. "This case came together because of the excellent work of Trooper Otterson and his decision to continue to investigate the case by obtaining a search warrant. Additionally, employees of the Minnesota State Patrol, the BCA, the Morrison County Attorney's Office and the Morrison County Jail played a crucial role in gaining this important conviction.

"Highway 10 is a popular route for transporting illegal narcotics. I hope this conviction sends a message that law enforcement is working hard to stop the use and flow of narcotics through our county, and that the Morrison County Attorney's Office is diligently prosecuting narcotic users and traffickers."

Schlangen is scheduled to be sentenced on Dec. 6 before Judge Daniel A. Benson. Schlangen faces up to 150 months in prison according to the Minnesota sentencing guidelines.

County Attorney Brian Middendorf stated, "We need to stop this dangerous, criminal behavior. That's why at sentencing, my office will be asking the judge to sentence Mr. Schlangen to maximum sentence under the state sentencing guidelines."

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