A Duluth man will spend seven years on probation and 180 days in jail for bringing $3,000 worth of heroin into the Douglas County Jail and sharing it with fellow inmates.

Brandon Robert Bender, 28, pleaded no contest July 1 in Douglas County Circuit Court to one count of possession with intent to deliver heroin on or near a jail. Judge Kelly Thimm imposed and stayed a sentence of seven years in state prison and seven years of extended supervision in favor of seven years of probation and 180 days in jail, according to online court records. A charge of repeater second and subsequent offense possession with intent to deliver heroin near a jail was dismissed but read in for sentencing. Bender was ordered to pay a $3,000 fine plus court costs.

On Nov. 12, 2018, jail staff reported finding nearly 17 grams of heroin on Bender, who was an inmate at the time, after receiving a note from another inmate indicating Bender was distributing the drug in jail, according to the criminal complaint. The heroin had an estimated street value of $3,000.

Jail staff then conducted urinalysis tests on four different inmates, and each tested positive for opiates. Bender admitted to jail staff that the bag of heroin was concealed in his briefs when he was arrested and that he gave heroin to some of the other inmates.

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