Discontent defendants want drug cases dismissed

2013-07-02T16:15:00Z Discontent defendants want drug cases dismissedBy JENNY MICHAEL | Bismarck Tribune Bismarck Tribune

BISMARCK, N.D. _ Attorneys for 10 people accused of selling illegal synthetic drugs out of Discontent in downtown Bismarck filed a flurry of motions ahead of a Monday deadline, including motions to dismiss the cases against them.

Law enforcement officers began investigating substances being sold at Discontent, 514 E. Main Ave., in January 2012 after seizing packages of synthetic substances in numerous cases, some of which involved medical emergencies brought on by the use of the substances that had been purchased at the store. Officers in June seized 10.6 pounds of synthetic drugs, some of which were found to be illegal, from the store.

The 10 defendants, including the store owner, manager and eight employees, have pleaded not guilty to all charges.

Surrogate Judge Benny Graff had set a July 1 deadline for motions in the case. Prosecutors now will have a chance to answer the litany of defense motions filed in recent days. A motion hearing has been scheduled for Aug. 22.

Several of the motions ask Graff to dismiss the cases. The store owner, Thomas Teply, filed a motion to dismiss the charges against him, saying prosecutors used terminology other than what is required by state law in complaints. All 10 defendants want cases dismissed because of selective prosecution and abuse of process; they argue law enforcement officials are aware of other retailers selling the same products who aren’t being prosecuted.

The motions also dealt with things the defendants don’t want admitted at trial — certain words they deem prejudicial, information about people who allegedly had medical or legal problems after using substances from Discontent, evidence from a search warrant they believe was obtained with less than truthful information, and information about a substance the state believes is illegal but defendants believe is not listed in state law.

Another motion asks Graff to move the trial. The defendants argued media coverage of the case in the counties of Burleigh and Cass has been prejudicial and the defendants and state’s witnesses have longstanding ties to the communities, making finding an unbiased jury difficult.

Teply, 59, has been charged with Class B felony conspiracy to deliver synthetic cannabinoids, Class C felony conspiracy to deliver drug paraphernalia, Class B felony possession of synthetic cannabinoids with intent to deliver and Class C felony possession of drug paraphernalia with intent to deliver. Teply, of Moorhead, Minn., is the owner of Discontent.

Steven Johnson, 30, has been charged with Class B felony conspiracy to deliver synthetic cannabinoids, Class C felony conspiracy to deliver drug paraphernalia, Class B felony possession of synthetic cannabinoids with intent to deliver, Class C felony possession of drug paraphernalia with intent to deliver, Class B felony delivery of synthetic cannabinoids and Class C felony delivery of drug paraphernalia. Johnson is the manager of the Bismarck Discontent store.

Tyler Bohl, 21, David Heid, 22, Amanda Johnson, 23, Nicholas Kantor, 22, Thomas Palanuk, 29, Edison Sprynczynatyk, 23, Bradley Weigum, 28, and Nathan Wilson, 19, have been charged with Class B felony delivery of synthetic cannabinoids and Class C felony delivery of drug paraphernalia. An affidavit from Bismarck Police Detective Jerry Stein said they were employees of the Bismarck Discontent store between January 2012 and June 2012.

Reach Jenny Michael at 701-250-8225 or jenny.michael@bismarcktribune.com.

Copyright 2015 Bismarck Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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