Complaint says he was digging through dumpsters looking for things to sell in order to buy narcotics

    An East Grand Forks man is facing two felony methamphetamine possession charges after court documents say that he was also digging through dumpsters for items like copper pipe that could potentially be sold to purchase narcotics. Jeremy Lee Nelson, 32, could face up to 20 years in prison and a have to pay a $250,000 fine for third-degree possession of methamphetamine and up to five years in prison and a $10,000 fine for the fifth-degree possession.

    According to court documents, on July 20 at 6:57 p.m., an East Grand Forks police officer was on routine patrol and was driving south in an alley by McDonald Dentistry and Frandsen Bank which is directly across the alley from the East Grand Forks High School. While in the alley, the officer observed a white male digging in a dumpster in the rear parking lot of the dental office.

    As he drove by, the officer noticed the male turned his head and looked at him and immediately recognized the male as Jeremy Lee Nelson. The officer was familiar with Nelson because he had previously arrested him in December 2018 for possession of a controlled substance and burglary. During that prior investigation, the officer knew that Nelson was under the influence of meth, had confessed, and had admitted to committing yet another burglary.

    As the officer turned his vehicle around in the Frandsen Bank parking lot to go back to the dumpster area, he noticed Nelson was gone. The officer found Nelson on a bike and it appeared that Nelson was trying to ride away. The officer approached Nelson who then rode up to his squad car on the bike and the officer advised Nelson that he cannot be digging through dumpsters. The officer noted that Nelson had a copper pipe hanging around his neck along with other items from the dumpster, said the complaint.

    Through his training and experience, the officer knew that digging through dumpsters for items that can be sold for a profit is common among narcotics users and that copper pipe is commonly used to scavenge for profit. The officer also knew that during one of his prior contacts with Nelson he was taking copper wiring out of electrical cords and selling the copper for money.

    While speaking with Nelson, the officer noticed that he was sweating profusely, had sunken cheeks, and very watery and glassy eyes. The officer also observed that Nelson had a hard time standing still, was consistently moving his hands, arms, and feet, and had “cotton mouth” and a clenched jaw throughout the time he spoke with him. Through the officer’s training and experience, he knew these to be signs consistent with someone who is under the influence of methamphetamine.

    The officer advised Nelson on East Grand Forks’ city ordinance against dumpster diving and, while another officer arrived on scene, the original officer was going to run a check on Nelson. The officer found that Nelson was on probation and asked Nelson when he had last checked in with probation. Nelson said he contacted his probation agent a week ago prior and that he only meets with probation once a month.

    The officer also knew, through his training and experience, that people commonly use narcotics right after checking in with probation because they know they have time to clear their system before the next check.

    Nelson’s probation agent authorized a urine test to be collected from Nelson and when the officer advised Nelson of this, Nelson reportedly shut his eyes, dropped his shoulders and looked down at the ground. Nelson stated, “Am I going to be dirty? Yes.” When asked what Nelson would be dirty for, Nelson stated, “Amphetamines,” that he took the day before.

    Before transporting Nelson to the EGFPD to collect the urine sample, the officer did a weapon check on Nelson who had a knife in his pocket and a cigarette pack. The officer observed Nelson kick his leg and stared directly at it. The officer could also see a plastic bag containing pills in Nelson’s left cargo pocket. Nelson claimed the pill was his prescription for Adderall.

    At the EGFPD, Nelson’s urine sample tested positive for amphetamine and methamphetamine. The baggie the pills were in also tested positive for meth.

    According to the complaint, Nelson’s probation agent authorized a search of Nelson’s home and four officers went to his residence in EGF which was directly across from Northland Community College. Nelson’s mother answered the door and let the officers into her son’s bedroom. Officers found a chunk of tin foil with a small plastic baggie wrapped up inside later field tested positive for meth, a glass pipe with suspected methoxetamine residue later field tested positive for meth, a bottle of fake urine, a spoon with suspected meth residue on it located next to a small plastic baggie later tested positive for meth with a crystal-like substance in it on a tray next to the spoon, a torch on a wooden chest, along with various other items as well as paperwork with Nelson’s name on it. Officers photographed the scene, house and items.

    Back at the EGFPD, an officer spoke with Nelson to advise him of the search of his bedroom, provided him with a copy of the evidence log/property receipt for the items removed and asked if he could see the inside of his elbows. Nelson showed his arms and the officer noted that he had very recent track marks on his left arm.

    A review of Nelson’s criminal history revealed he was previously convicted of controlled substance crimes, third-degree driving while impaired, possession of drug paraphernalia, possession of a small amount of marijuana, disorderly conduct, driving while impaired and other traffic offenses.