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Drug reseller faces felonies

A Duluth man is facing multiple felony charges for dealing prescription drugs. Edward David St. John, 60, is accused of buying cheap prescription drugs during trips to Mexico, where they are available over the counter, and reselling them in the T...

A Duluth man is facing multiple felony charges for dealing prescription drugs.

Edward David St. John, 60, is accused of buying cheap prescription drugs during trips to Mexico, where they are available over the counter, and reselling them in the Twin Ports, making five times his investment. St. John waived his right to a preliminary hearing Wednesday in a Douglas County Circuit Court.

A warrant search was conducted in April at the South Superior home where St. John then was living. It was executed by Superior Police Department narcotics officers assisted by the Lake Superior Drug Task Force and special agents. He was charged with seven counts of delivery or intent to deliver controlled substances and one count of possession with intent to deliver marijuana.

According to the criminal complaint:

St. John talked to a special agent and narcotics officers as other officers searched a house at 5817 Oakes Ave., looking for drugs.

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St. John allegedly told police he had traveled to Mexico in February or March to purchase drugs. He said he typically takes $500 to $1,000 with him and spends the entire amount on drugs that are available only by prescription in the United States -- typically buying Prilosec, Valium, cigarettes and occasionally OxyContin in 80-milligram pills and Zyanex, which could not be found in the Federal Drug Administration's database.

In Mexico, St. John allegedly told police, he is able to buy about 60 tablets of Prilosec, used to treat upper digestive disorders, for about $10, while his wife typically pays about $120 for a 30-pill prescription locally.

Beyond that, St. John admitted that he bought OxyContin, a narcotic used to treat severe pain, "for a friend, but that he has sold every other pill he had bought in Mexico," the complaint states. "The defendant stated that he would take orders from friends if they wanted something in Mexico and he would bring the drugs back."

St. John allegedly told police the drugs he bought for $500 in Mexico would sell for about $2,500 in the Twin Ports. While he denied ever selling Lortabs or Dilaudid -- both painkillers -- law enforcement had used a confidential source to buy the drugs in the past, according to the charges against him.

St. John is also accused of using the mail to send boxes of drugs to his home.

During the search, police found rental car receipts, hotel reservations, airline records and pharmacy receipts from Mexico for seven visits. Other notes appeared to be "shopping lists," according to the complaint.

Police also found a large quantity of various prescription drugs, jewelers bags typically used for selling drugs, and empty bottles for a variety of controlled substances

According to a confidential informant working with police, St. John obtained some of the medications from doctors in Tijuana, Mexico. On three separate occasions, narcotics officers monitored controlled buys of prescription drugs.

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St. John is slated for arraignment Sept. 4.

Shelley Nelson can be reached at (715) 395-5022 or snelson@superiortelegram.com .

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