A Benson man has been charged in Pennington County District Court after he allegedly possessed 70.79 grams of methamphetamine at a Thief River Falls hotel.
Robert Joseph Herigon, 34, has been charged with felony offenses of first degree controlled substance crime – possession, and meth-related crimes involving children and vulnerable adults.
The latter charge stemmed from the allegation that meth paraphernalia was stored in a room offered to the public for overnight accommodation. Herigon was arrested.
The charge stemmed from a Wednesday, Oct. 14 report from a Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension special agent, according to the complaint. He contacted a Pine to Prairie Drug Task Force investigator regarding Herigon, the subject of an ongoing drug investigation conducted by the BCA and West Central Drug Task Force. It was determined that Herigon was using the Wi-Fi at GrandStay Hotel in Thief River Falls a day earlier through that investigation.
The ongoing drug investigation also allegedly determined that Herigon sells large quantities of meth. The investigator knew that Herigon had a felony warrant for his arrest from the Minnesota Department of Corrections.
The special agent told the investigator that Herigon had fled twice from law enforcement agencies when they had attempted to arrest him on the warrant.
On Oct. 14, Police Chief Marissa Adam and the PTPDTF investigator went to the hotel to determine if Herigon were there. In an undercover capacity, the investigator walked past an occupied car in the parking lot. He thought the occupant looked similar to Herigon. A short time later, Herigon entered a hotel room. The room had been rented to a local woman, a known associate of Herigon.
The woman, who hasn’t been charged with this case, has been named in past drug investigations. The car was linked to the hotel room as well. The investigator then obtained a master key for the room. Adam, the investigator, a police sergeant, and two police officers then went to the room. They found that the safety lock was engaged, so the investigator acted as if he were with the hotel housekeeping staff and announced, “Housekeeping.” Herigon opened the door and then immediately slammed the door on law enforcement, who kicked the door to break the lock. Herigon locked himself in the bathroom, and law enforcement forced open the bathroom door.
He was allegedly attempting to dispose of a plastic bag in the toilet. It contained meth. Law enforcement then forcibly removed Herigon from the hotel room.
After finding the meth in the toilet and assorted drug paraphernalia in the bathroom, law enforcement was granted search warrants for the hotel room and the car. The investigator, a PTPDTF officer, the BCA special agent, a police sergeant, and a police officer then executed the search warrant for the hotel room.
There, they allegedly found 10 plastic baggies containing a total of 70.79 grams of suspected meth. A drug ledger containing names and what appeared to be dollar amounts was found as well. Also found were a glass meth pipe, $2,040 in cash (with $2,000 divided into two stacks with rubber bands placed around each stack); about 190 unused, packaged hypodermic needles; two small baggies of marijuana; three baggies of miscellaneous prescription pills; some wax paper containing suspected hash oil; two cell phones; dozens of unused pill capsules; and miscellaneous drug paraphernalia.
The complaint indicated that various drugs are often placed in unused pill capsules to sell the drugs. Law enforcement also allegedly found nine individually wrapped suspected THC gummy bears, as well as another bag of such gummy bears, in the hotel room. THC is an ingredient in marijuana. The second search warrant was executed for the car; however, nothing of evidentiary value was found. The woman had rented the car from Enterprise in St. Paul.