Weather Forecast


Bemidji man charged in connection to Thief River Falls overdose death

Robert Louis Bellanger-Fohrenkam

THIEF RIVER FALLS—A fourth person has been charged in connection to the overdose death of a Thief River Falls man.

Robert Louis Bellanger-Fohrenkam, 35, of Bemidji had an initial appearance hearing Tuesday in Polk County District Court, where he faces felony charges of third-degree murder and first-degree controlled substance crime. The criminal case is the result of an investigation into the Feb. 8 death of 23-year-old Samuel Dejesus Cabrales, who was found unresponsive at a Thief River Falls residence.

Investigators found a needle and bag of drugs mixed with heroin at the scene. They later connected the drugs to Aaron Daniel Zimmerman, 40, Nathan Charles Mock, 22, and Nicole Lee Baker, 30, and accused the three of providing the deadly substance to Cabrales, according to court documents.

Zimmerman told officers he facilitated the sale between Cabrales and Mock, and Mock said Baker asked him if anyone he knew wanted the heroin, according to court documents.

Baker said she would cooperate with investigators and named Bellanger-Fohrenkam as her source of drugs, according to court documents.

Investigators set up several meetings for drug deals between Baker and Bellanger-Fohrenkam, according to court documents. He was arrested Feb. 12 with the money investigators gave Baker to buy meth from Bellanger-Fohrenkam.

Recordings of the deals suggest Bellanger-Fohrenkam knew how potent the heroin was, and he gave Baker specific directions on how to prepare the drugs and test it, according to charging documents.

Bellanger-Fohrenkam also allegedly admitted to selling Baker heroin before Cabrales was found dead from an overdose, court documents said.

Zimmerman, Mock, and Baker were charged with one count each of third-degree murder and a third-degree controlled substance crime. Baker also was charged with a second third-degree controlled substance crime, as well as a fifth-degree controlled substance crime.

All four have a history of drug charges in Minnesota. Bellanger-Fohrenkam also was sentenced in 2016 in Wisconsin on one felony count of possessing amphetamine with intent to deliver.

The murder charge carries a maximum punishment of 25 years in prison and the first-degree drug charge is punishable by up to 40 years in prison. The third-degree drug charge carries a maximum punishment of 20 years in prison.

April Baumgarten

April Baumgarten joined the Grand Forks Herald May 19, 2015, and covers crime and education. She grew up on a ranch 10 miles southeast of Belfield, where her family raises registered Hereford cattle. She double majored in communications and history/political science at Jamestown (N.D.) College, now known as University of Jamestown. During her time at the college, she worked as a reporter and editor-in-chief for the university's newspaper, The Collegian. Baumgarten previously worked for The Dickinson Press as a city government and energy reporter in 2011 before becoming the editor of the Hazen Star and Center Republican. She then returned to The Press as a news editor, where she helped lead an award-winning newsroom in recording the historical oil boom.

Have a story idea? Contact Baumgarten at 701-780-1248.

(701) 780-1248