Police: 3 men threaten potential drug case witnessAuthorities say three men unlawfully entered a home early Wednesday and brandished a knife and a gun to threaten a Grand Forks woman who may testify against their friends in a drug case.
By: Archie Ingersoll, Grand Forks Herald
Authorities say three men unlawfully entered a home early Wednesday and brandished a knife and a gun to threaten a Grand Forks woman who may testify against their friends in a drug case.
Grand Forks County Assistant State’s Attorney Thomas Falck said Jonathan Morningstar, Gerald Cree and Naiches Redeagle will face charges of burglary and tampering with a witness. Morningstar will also be charged with robbery for reportedly using a weapon to take cash from the victim, Falck said.
Grand Forks police officers responded to a report of a residential burglary in progress at about 5:50 a.m. and, while officers were still taking the complaint at the first home, another burglary in progress call came in at about 6:15 a.m. By the time police arrived at each home, the suspects had left, Sgt. B.A. Johnson said.
Police said the woman was threatened at the first home on the 2000 block of Dyke Avenue. Johnson said he did not know how the men gained entry. “All I know is they didn’t have permission to come in, obviously,” he said.
Falck said a man took the three men to the second home on the 600 block of 8th Avenue North to divert their attention from the first home. He said the three won’t be charged with entering the second home, where no one was threatened or robbed. Authorities said the residents of both homes knew the three men.
Falck did not confirm if the woman allegedly threatened is an actual witness. Either way, he says, it doesn’t matter: “If they believe she’s a witness, that’s all it takes” to charge them.
Falck declined to say who the acquaintances of the men are, if they have been charged or what the charges might be. “At this point, it’s premature to get into all of that,” he said.
Johnson said the Grand Forks Narcotics Task Force is investigating the case in which the woman may testify.
Later Wednesday, police located and arrested the three suspects. Cree, 25, of Grand Forks, and Redeagle, 33, of Mandan, N.D., appeared in state District Court via interactive television. Both said they understood the charges but disagreed with the prosecution’s version of events.
Redeagle said he did not know the woman at the first home and that he was in town to pick up his brother and bring him to Mandan for Thanksgiving.
“I didn’t come up here to break the law,” Redeagle said. “That was not my intention.”
Cree’s bail was set at $7,000, and Redeagle’s was set at $4,000. The two have preliminary hearings on Dec. 28.
Morningstar, 30, of Grand Forks, appeared in federal court in Grand Forks on a warrant for violating his probation. Morningstar was held pending a detention hearing next week. He’ll eventually have to appear in state court, Falck said.
The three men were in custody at the Grand Forks County jail Wednesday. Messages left for them there were not returned Wednesday evening. They do not yet have attorneys.
Ingersoll reports on crime and courts. Reach him at (701) 780-1269; (800) 477-6572, ext. 269; or send e-mail to email@example.com.