Court news: DL man sentenced after being caught with weed and mushrooms

The trooper could smell a strong odor of marijuana coming from the vehicle, and the suspect admitted he had marijuana in the vehicle, along with some psilocybin mushrooms, according to court records.

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DETROIT LAKES — Daniel James Steward, 18, of Detroit Lakes has been sentenced in Becker County District Court for gross misdemeanor fifth-degree controlled substance crime.

A felony fifth-degree drug charge and a misdemeanor marijuana charge were dropped in a plea agreement.

According to court records, on July 30, 2022, a state trooper responded to a report of a stalled vehicle on Highway 10 in Becker County, and found Steward standing outside his vehicle on the shoulder of the road.

Steward told the trooper he had not been paying attention and crashed into a pole. The trooper could smell a strong odor of marijuana coming from the vehicle, and Steward admitted he had marijuana in the vehicle, along with some psilocybin mushrooms.

The trooper searched the vehicle and found 20 grams of marijuana and 7.5 grams of mushrooms. Psilocybin is a Schedule 1 controlled substance.


On Feb. 2, District Judge Michael Fritz sentenced him on the gross misdemeanor charge to 15 days in jail, with six days stayed for two years. He must serve nine days in jail, and was fined $1,000 plus $150 in court fees. Steward was placed on unsupervised probation for two years.

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Chad Everett Dakota, 48, of White Earth, has been sentenced in Becker County District Court for failing to register his current address under the predatory offender law.

According to court records, he is required to register as a predatory offender under Minnesota law. On March 24, he was found to be living at a residence on Martin Drive in rural Ogema, after a tribal police officer went there on the report of a possible domestic assault.

In the course of investigating the incident, the officer heard one of the parties complain that Dakota lives at the residence and does not help. Another party involved in the disturbance also admitted that Dakota was living at the residence.

His last properly registered address was on County Road 21 in White Earth, and not at the residence on Martin Drive. Dakota told the officer he had been living there since March 6. Asked why he had not updated his address, Dakota answered that it was because he didn't have a ride.

On Feb. 3, District Judge Gretchen Thilmony sentenced him to 26 months in prison at St. Cloud, stayed five years.

He was ordered to serve 60 days in jail, with credit for 17 days served, and was placed on supervised probation for five years.

He was fined $50 plus $75 in court fees, and must complete a comprehensive assessment and follow the recommendations, including aftercare.


The sentence was a downward departure from the state sentencing guidelines, because, among other reasons, he is considered particularly amenable to probation, has accepted responsibility, he lacked substantial capacity for judgment when the offense was committed, and he lives in a rural area with no driver’s license and no transportation.

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