Charges filed against bar ownerFelony drug charges were filed Thursday in Douglas County Circuit Court against a town of Bennett tavern owner.
By: Maria Lockwood, Superior Telegram
Felony drug charges were filed Thursday in Douglas County Circuit Court against a town of Bennett tavern owner.
Christopher Minor Zoltak, 37, of Lake Nebagamon faces felony charges of possession with intent to deliver marijuana and possession of narcotic drugs and misdemeanor charges of possession of an illegally obtained prescription and possession of drug paraphernalia. He pleaded not guilty to the misdemeanor counts and a preliminary hearing is scheduled for May 22.
Zoltak remained free on a $2,000 signature bond. As a condition of his bond, he was ordered not to use or possess any controlled substances or drug paraphernalia.
According to the criminal complaint:
Douglas County Sheriff’s Department deputies were conducting routine inspections for compliance at a number of rural taverns with special agents from the Wisconsin Department of Revenue on April 23 when about 70 grams marijuana was found inside a freezer at Wasko’s Campground Plus.
In addition to the marijuana, a stolen firearm was discovered.
The law enforcement agents froze the premises, closed the bar and applied for a search warrant. The search turned up 434 grams (about 15 ounces) of marijuana in a number of different spots and prescription pills in unlabeled bottles, marijuana grinders, digital scales and illegal fireworks, all in the back office of the tavern.
A number of guns also were seized, due to the amount of controlled substances found in close proximity to the guns.
Zoltak told sheriff’s department Sgt. Jim Madden and Detective Cory Knutson that he smokes marijuana to help with his medical issues. The tavern owner said he had never had a large quantity of the substance on hand until the night before, when a Twin Cities man stopped by to sell him half a pound of marijuana for $2,000. He said he buys the marijuana for personal use, but if he’s smoking it outside and someone asks for a puff of it, he gives them some.
Zoltak also said he bought the bottles of prescription drugs from individuals.
Department of Revenue spokeswoman Laurel Patrick said the department helps enforce state alcohol and tobacco laws by working with local law enforcement. She declined to comment on the department’s ongoing enforcement actions.
Douglas County Sheriff Tom Dalbec said there have been previous random compliance checks by the Department of Revenue in the county. He said they check for proper licensing and to make sure bills and taxes are paid.