A Mandan man who police say was under the influence of drugs while children in his care were unsupervised in a filthy home was sentenced Tuesday to two years on supervised probation.
Colby Ereth, 33, also must complete parenting and anger management treatment, and complete substance abuse treatment within six months. Court documents indicate he might also face federal drug charges.
He was arrested in late June after Mandan police were called to a West Deer Street residence for a welfare check of two children who were playing outside without supervision, according to a police affidavit. Ereth was one of two adults at the address. He was asleep in a shed and appeared to be under the influence of drugs when police arrived, authorities said.
The two children and another inside the home were in need of bathing and wore dirty clothes. One child had no clothing and a younger child was in need of a diaper, the affidavit said.
Inside the home police found a dog, a cat and an iguana in cages and in poor condition. There was dog food, garbage and dirty diapers on the floor, and police said they found knives on the floor and chairs pushed up to cabinets where it appeared the children had attempted to find food for themselves. Guns and ammunition were unsecured and accessible to the children, the affidavit stated.
Police found a scale, plastic bags containing meth and heroin, and homemade smoking devices in the shed, authorities said.
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Ereth pleaded guilty to two counts each of possession of drug paraphernalia and possession of a controlled substance, three counts of child neglect and a misdemeanor charge of animal neglect.
Ereth had little criminal history prior to his arrest, and his addiction led to all the charges in the case, Assistant Morton County State’s Attorney Gabrielle Goter said. She recommended a three-year sentence with all but 60 days suspended, with credit for 60 days Ereth had already served behind bars.
Goter said that after two months of sobriety, “things look a little different” for a suspect.
“We tried to get him sober, clean, and on the right path,” she said.
Ereth told Bahr he “knows how to live on the straight and narrow” because he was employed for 16 years and hadn’t been in any serious trouble before his addiction.
South Central District Judge Douglas Bahr agreed to Goter's recommendation.
State court documents show Ereth has pending felony drug charges in Sioux and Burleigh counties. He is in custody at the Burleigh Morton Detention Center for federal authorities for conspiracy to possess with intent to deliver methamphetamine.
A co-defendant in the case, Hope Althoff, 26, was sentenced Monday to two years on probation after pleading guilty to child neglect and animal neglect. She is being held for federal authorities for conspiracy to distribute and possess methamphetamine. A search of federal court documents did not indicate that any formal charges had yet been filed against Althoff or Ereth late Tuesday.
Reach Travis Svihovec at 701-250-8260 or Travis.Svihovec@bismarcktribune.com