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Bemidji man sentenced to 7 years for selling meth

BEMIDJI -- A Bemidji meth dealer is off the streets now for the next seven years.

John Joseph Waslaski, 40, of Bemidji, was sentenced for felony first-degree sale of methamphetamine to 94 months in the Minnesota Correctional Facility in St. Cloud. Waslaski has been credited with 180 days time served and must pay a $50 fine.

Felony first-degree sale of methamphetamine carries a maximum penalty of 40 years and a $1,000,000 fine with a four year mandatory minimum.

On Thanksgiving Day, Nov. 28, 2013, Waslaski was arrested after conspiring with another person to distribute more than 10 grams of methamphetamine. Waslaski’s arrest was the result of a Paul Bunyan Drug Task Force investigation.

During the investigation, Waslaski sold methamphetamine to a cooperating individual at Pete’s Place West in Beltrami County on Nov. 27, according to court documents. The purchase was made with pre-recorded currency from the Paul Bunyan Drug Task Force Federal Buy Fund.

Waslaski received $1,300 in recorded funds to acquire a half-ounce (approximately 15 grams) of methamphetamine, a criminal complaint stated. Waslaski provided 3.5 ounces of meth at approximately 4:43 p.m. on Nov. 27 and told the cooperating individual he could get more from his “source,” according to court documents.

Waslaski was followed under surveillance to a residence on Balsam Road NW where Barry Lee Jacobson lived. From Jacobson’s residence Waslaski was followed to Pete’s Place West between Bemidji and Wilton where he delivered the remaining 12 ounces of methamphetamine at approximately 6 p.m.

According to the criminal complaint, Waslaski confessed to selling methamphetamine and that he received the drug from his source, Barry Jacobson. Waslaski amended the not guilty plea entered on Jan. 6 to guilty on May 6 prior to his sentencing on Tuesday.

Waslaski’s criminal history includes theft, DWI, fifth-degree drug possession and receiving stolen property.

In October, Waslaski plead guilty to receiving stolen property for his part in a theft and burglary investigation involving four other individuals in the Bemidji area. He was sentenced to a year and a day in prison which was stayed for five years. A fifth-degree drug charge was dismissed at that time.

Firearms, power tools, copper pipes, tools and a pickup truck were recovered during searches involved in the investigation which was conducted in 2012. Waslaski was outed when a co-conspirator, James Schummer, was found hiding in Waslaski’s home in Eckles Township in July. Schummer led law enforcement to Waslaski’s house after fleeing police and crashing an ATV.

After Waslaski’s most recent arrest led the Paul Bunyan Drug Task Force to his supplier, a search warrant was prepared and executed on Jacobson’s residence. Jacobson was busted with 1.7 kilos of marijuana, 3.5 grams of methamphetamine, 13 firearms and $900 in BCA fund money.

Jacobson provided law enforcement with a recorded statement that he does sell methamphetamine in the Bemidji area and that Waslaski was at his residence earlier in the evening, according to court documents. Jacobson admitted he had supplied Waslaski with more methamphetamine for distribution in the Bemidji area.

Jacobson plead not guilty to charges of felony first-degree sale of methamphetamine and possession of pistol/assault weapon on April 28. A pre-trial was scheduled for Tuesday; a future court date was not available. A felon in possession of a firearm charge carries a maximum sentence of 15 years in prison and a $30,000 fine with a mandatory commitment to prison of five years.

Jacobson’s criminal history includes possession of cocaine and disorderly conduct. Both Jacobson and Waslaski are currently being held in the Beltrami County Jail.

Crystal Dey
Crystal Dey covers crime, courts, tribal relations and social issues for The Bemidji Pioneer in Bemidji, Minnesota. Originally from Minnesota’s Iron Range, Dey has worked for the Echo Press in Alexandria, Minnesota, The Forum in Fargo, North Dakota, The Tampa Tribune in Tampa, Florida, the Hartford Courant in Hartford and West Hartford News in West Hartford, Connecticut. Dey studied Mass Communications at Minnesota State University Moorhead with an emphasis in Online Journalism. Follow Crystal Dey on Twitter @Crystal_Dey.
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