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Wagner meth arrests spike in 24-hour period, officers arrest nine people

WAGNER -- In fewer than 48 hours, nine felony meth-related arrests were made in Wagner, the largest amount the city's police chief has seen in the same time frame.

Methamphetamine problem (Republic photo illustration)
Methamphetamine problem (Republic photo illustration)

WAGNER - In fewer than 48 hours, nine felony meth-related arrests were made in Wagner, the largest amount the city's police chief has seen in the same time frame.

Charles Mix County State's Attorney Scott Podhradsky said the arrests were a joint effort of different law enforcement staffs in the county.

"It's nice to see the Wagner Police Department, Charles Mix County Sheriff's Office and Yankton Sioux Tribe working together," Podhradsky said. "It's just like when you watch any TV show, when there's a holiday, people will try to get their fix, and our law enforcement are working hard, like they always do, to stop it."

According to Wagner Police Chief Tim Simonsen, the arrests happened "by chance" with officers in the right place at the right time, but it's been a step in the right direction to fight the town's growing meth problem.

Simonsen said the first arrest came early Thursday morning after a Wagner officer witnessed a man running into a house, and the officer chased the man inside. Simonsen said the police department already had a bench warrant for the man's arrest. When inside, officers allegedly were able to see drug paraphernalia in plain sight and found meth residue inside of the home.

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Officers then retreated and requested a search warrant, which resulted in the arrest of Hillary Hare, 37, and David Cournoyer, 45. The pair each had meth in their urine and were charged with possession and ingestion of a controlled substance, according to Podhradsky. The bench warrant for Cournoyer stems from an arrest for unauthorized ingestion of meth on June 19. Cournoyer was released on bond and was not compliant with the terms of his bond, leading to the issuing of the warrant, Podhradsky said.

At 7:50 a.m. Friday, four more individuals were arrested for possession and ingestion of a controlled substance, meth, as a result of a traffic stop in Wagner.

Jeremy Cournoyer, 36; Brandi Belgarde, 32; Laura Schunk, 41; and a fourth person were arrested. The fourth person could not be identified because paperwork had not been filed for him as of Friday afternoon, Podhradsky said.

Also on Friday, Wagner police arrested Jason William Shields, 32, for ingestion and possession of a controlled substance, meth, after making contact with Shields in regards to stealing property from a Wagner business.

In a fourth arrest, which came as the result of a traffic stop, a Charles Mix County Deputy arrested Codi Rae Shields, 30, and Robert Lee Fox, Jr., 33, also for possession and ingestion of a controlled substance.

Podhradksy said it's possible Yankton Sioux Tribe officers assisted with some of the arrests. And, though his office sees a lot of meth cases, he can't recall ever seeing nine arrests from one town in a 24-hour period.

Simonsen said the Wagner Police Department issues more warrants than usual over the Labor Day holiday.

"We really hit it hard over Labor Day, because that's usually when they come out of the woodwork and think they can get away with selling," Simonsen said. "Meth is a big problem here and we're actively trying to combat that. I have a grandson growing up here and we want to make it a better place for the kids."

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But, no matter how hard the police department works, Simonsen said, eliminating the meth problem in Wagner - and the state - will take several departments.

"It's an effort with everybody, DCI, FBI, tribal police, the county police, everybody," he said. "It's going to take a lot of resources."

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