Friday, 14 October 2016 14:17

Stolen Car Parts Investigation Turns Into Major Drug Bust in ND

Written by Forum News Service



A routine theft investigation turned into one of the biggest drug busts near the Canadian border in Pembina County, according to law enforcement officers.

Now a local business is under investigation to see if it was used to channel those drugs.


It started with a search warrant for stolen, high-priced car parts at 52-year-old Renaud Duane Winkler's property off North Dakota Highway 18 in Neche, a city of about 370 residents approximately 90 miles north of Grand Forks.


"We were looking for two engines; actually came across a vast amount of drugs at the scene," Pembina County Sheriff Terry Meidinger said.


The auto body sign outside the garage served as a cover for a storage shed for drugs, according to investigators. They said they found $23,000 worth of meth, along with cocaine, marijuana, scales and baggies inside the shed.


"That is something law enforcement is still looking at, following how and where drugs are coming into Pembina County," County State's Attorney Ryan Bialas said.


Winkler also ran L&M bar in Neche. Investigators said they want to know if there was more than just alcohol on tap.


"We will obviously look into all ties, if it is charged with drug delivery, and if you are delivering there has to be channels and means to do so," said Bialas.


Prosecutors remained tight-lipped when asked where the drugs were headed.


"We do have information in regards to the drugs, but that is part of the ongoing investigation," responded Bialas.


Winkler was sentenced to 6½ years in prison after pleading guilty to meth and cocaine distribution charges in early 2000.


One other arrest was made during the execution of the search warrant.


57-year-old Tammy Tate was arrested for possession of a controlled substance.


Police claim they found several bags of meth in her purse.


Charges have not been filed with the North Dakota court system, though it's likely they will be in the following days.


We would like to thank Forum News Service for reprint permission.