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Drug charge dismissed, warrant insufficient

A district judge has dismissed drug charges against four Park Rapids family members arrested in May, finding that the warrant to search their home contained insufficient probable cause to justify the pre-dawn search.

Judge Paul Rasmussen dismissed all charges against Clifford James, Penny James, Cody James and Emily Johnson, who resided at 301 Main St., in Park Rapids.

Rasmussen also tossed the evidence seized in the search, including 4 grams of methamphetamine and 4 ounces of marijuana.

The four were arrested in the early morning hours of May 21 after a confidential informant reported to a drug officer that the four had drugs on the premises.

The officer then applied for a warrant to search the home. Rasmussen's fellow judge, Robert Tiffany, signed the warrant.

"I'm sorry but I can't comment on pending cases," Tiffany said when asked for comment.

Rasmussen ruled Thursday that the warrant was defective because the confidential informant didn't specify when he saw the drugs at the residence.

"The warrant application fails to provide a time frame from which the Court can determine whether or not the information is fresh enough to support the search," Rasmussen ruled.

James still faces drug-related charges stemming from another arrest July 18.

County attorney Don Dearstyne could not be reached for comment Thursday night. The James family also could not be reached.