4 arrested in Bemidji after heroin overdose reported
BEMIDJI, Minn. -- Four people were arrested on various charges after a reported heroin overdose in Bemidji last week, where the victim was given Narcan and survived. Last Friday evening, the Bemidji Police Department was called to the Petro Serve...
BEMIDJI, Minn. -- Four people were arrested on various charges after a reported heroin overdose in Bemidji last week, where the victim was given Narcan and survived.
Last Friday evening, the Bemidji Police Department was called to the Petro Serve on the western edge of the city for a medical emergency, according to a release Thursday from Beltrami County Sheriff Phil Hodapp.
Police officers and Bemidji Fire Department personnel arrived on scene and found the victim not breathing. The person's face was pale and their lips were turning blue, the release said. Officers were informed the victim, who was not identified by name, age or sex, may have suffered a heroin overdose.
A Beltrami County Sheriff's Office Sergeant arrived and administered the department-issued Naloxone, which is commonly referred to as Narcan, the release said. Naloxone works to counteract the effects of certain drugs, including heroin. The victim was taken to Sanford Bemidji's emergency room, treated and released.
Agents from the Paul Bunyan Drug Task Force and a Beltrami County Sheriff's Office investigator conducted a follow-up on the overdose with help from other agencies. The investigation lead to a search warrant at a residence in Eckles Township, where four individuals were arrested for narcotics and child endangerment charges, along with one person arrested for outstanding warrants. All four were transported Friday night to the Beltrami County Jail.
At the residence, investigators found approximately 19 grams of suspected heroin, 200 prescription pills and drug paraphernalia.
"It was apparent through the investigation that the heroin was being sold, and not being held for personal use," the release said.
Arrested were Tony Harrison, 43, Jodale Lutgen, 33, Derrick Therriault, 30 and one woman who was arrested on outstanding traffic warrants.Harrison was arrested on charges of first-degree sale of a controlled substance, child endangerment and false information to a peace officer. Therriault was arrested on charges of fifth-degree possession of a controlled substance and child endangerment. Lutgen was arrested for child endangerment. Only Harrison was listed on the Beltrami County Jail inmate list as of Thursday evening.
According to the release, since January 2015, the Paul Bunyan Drug Task Force has been notified and assisted with 18 heroin overdoses within the task force area. Of the 18 overdoses, three were fatal.
The Paul Bunyan Drug Task Force covers Beltrami County, Hubbard County, Clearwater County and Mahnomen County, as well as the cities of Bemidji and Park Rapids and the Leech Lake and White Earth reservations.
Hodapp said officials know many more overdoses have occurred, but have not been reported to law enforcement or emergency medical services.
"Further, with the introduction of Narcan, there is a trend that overdose victims are being 'Narcaned' by their friends and family without reporting to law enforcement or medical personnel," Hodapp said in the release.
With the growing heroin epidemic in the region, several law enforcement agencies in the area have begun carrying Naloxone in their squad cars, the release said. Those agencies include Beltrami County, Leech Lake Police Department, Red Lake Police Department, White Earth Police Department and Mahnomen County. Bemidji is currently training its officers and will also be carrying Naloxone, the release said.
Hodapp urged anyone with information on heroin, or any other illegal narcotic, to contact a Task Force Agent directly through Facebook, or through an anonymous email link through Paul Bunyan Drug Task Force link on the Beltrami County website. To reach the email, go to the Beltrami County website, click on the Law Enforcement tab, then Drug Task Force where there is a link, "submit your information." People also can call (218) 333-8130 to speak with a task force agent or dial 911 or 333-9111 to report drug trafficking information at any time, the release said.