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Bismarck drug, prostitution case moves to trial

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A Las Vegas man accused of dealing drugs in Bismarck and providing a prostitute with airfare to the city and a hotel room has pleaded not guilty to five felony charges.

John Pamplin, 27, faces the possibility of 20 years in prison on the most serious of four felony drug charges -- possession with intent to distribute. He also faces felony charges of possession of drug paraphernalia and facilitating prostitution. He entered the pleas during his arraignment on Thursday.

Bismarck police on Aug. 5 followed up on a tip that a man was selling fentanyl at a Bismarck hotel, according to Detective Jerry Stein. Pamplin allegedly had fentanyl, marijuana and more than $400 cash on him when he was arrested outside the hotel. A search of his hotel room revealed 284 fentanyl pills with a street value of $17,000, 45 commercial bags of THC edibles, 5 ½ ounces of cocaine, a quarter pound of marijuana, a digital scale and a handgun, according to authorities.

A woman in the room admitted she was a prostitute and that she’d had one client, Stein said. She told police Pamplin paid for her room and flight to Bismarck and provided her protection, the detective said.

Defense attorney Josh Weatherspoon asked South Central District Judge Bobbi Weiler to dismiss the charge of facilitation of prostitution. He said his client may have assisted the woman in setting up an advertisement on a website but there was no testimony that showed Pamplin procured a specific client for the woman or that the client she mentioned to police was obtained through the website.

Weiler found there was enough evidence to move the case forward on all the charges. She scheduled a two-day trial starting Jan. 19. The judge denied a request to modify Pamplin's bond of $200,000 cash. He is in custody at Burleigh Morton Detention Center.

Reach Travis Svihovec at 701-250-8260 or Travis.Svihovec@bismarcktribune.com

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