Over a span of two days last week, three incidents in Superior netted nearly 2½ pounds of marijuana and led to five arrests. Most of the marijuana found was allegedly being sold less than 1,000 feet from Superior parks.
Marijuana is the most commonly used illegal drug in the United States, with about 22.2 million users each month, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Research shows about 1-in-10 marijuana users become addicted. For people who begin using before age 18, that rises to 1-in-6. According to criminal complaints filed in Douglas County Circuit Court, marijuana continues to be an issue for local law enforcement.
The first influx of marijuana came the afternoon of Feb. 21 when Superior police responded to a report of a possible drug deal occurring out of cars in the parking lot near TJ Champions Lounge, about two blocks from Wade Bowl.
Officers saw a car with four people in it, and smelled the odor of marijuana coming from the car. A witness told officers that a female exited the vehicle and exchanged something with occupants of another car.
A search of the car netted more than a pound of marijuana in a paper grocery bag, cooler and pouch, as well as a stack of unused clear plastic bags and a small scale, according to the complaint. Officers also found pouches labeled "Colorado Cannabis." Two Superior residents were arrested.
Liam Scott Johnson and Emily Mae Wrazidlo, both 19, each face felony party to possession with intent to deliver marijuana with the added enhancement of doing so on or near a park. Johnson also faces two bail jumping charges, one felony, the other a misdemeanor.
Investigators executed a search warrant the next morning at an address on the 1900 block of Hammond Avenue, across from Hammond Park. A pound of marijuana was seized, along with a semi-automatic pistol and loaded shotgun, according to criminal complaints. Spencer James Bonneville, 19, and Rory Edward Freeman, 20, each face felony party to possession with intent to deliver marijuana with added enhancers of doing so on or near a park and possessing a dangerous weapon. They were also charged with misdemeanor possess drug paraphernalia.
Nearly half a pound of marijuana was seized and a Superior man was charged with drug crimes following a traffic stop of a vehicle on Highway 105 near McClures Landing Road that same day, Feb. 22.
Blake Alan Kolenda, 24, faces felony possession with intent to deliver marijuana and misdemeanor possession of drug paraphernalia.
All five facing charges have appeared in court.
Wrazidlo waived a preliminary hearing Wednesday and her next court appearance is April 23. Johnson waived the time limits for his preliminary hearing, which takes place March 28. Johnson was released on a $2,000 cash bond; Wrazidlo on a $450 cash bond. The two were ordered to have no contact with one another.
Bonneville and Freeman made initial appearances Tuesday. Cash bond was set for $1,000 for Bonneville and $500 for Freeman. Their next court date is March 14. Court files indicate that both men notified the court that they now live at separate Duluth addresses.
Kolenda made an initial appearance last week. He was released on a $2,500 signature bond. His next court appearance is set for March 14.
The felony possession with intent to deliver marijuana charge carries a maximum penalty of up to six years imprisonment and a fine of up to $10,000. That sentence can be increased by five years if the offense occurred within 1,000 feet of a park. It can also be increased by five years if it was committed while possessing a dangerous weapon.