More charges filed against man accused in Woodbury drug death
- Article by: Kevin Giles
- Star Tribune
- August 29, 2014 - 11:41 PM
A St. Cloud man accused in the synthetic drug overdose death of a Woodbury teenager continued to sell drugs three months after she died, according to new felony charges filed in Stearns County.
Alexander Lee Claussen, 19, was charged in mid-August with first-degree sale of a synthetic drug exceeding 50 grams in weight and fourth-degree sale of a Schedule I hallucinogen.
Claussen sold drugs in April to a confidential informant in a “controlled buy” arranged by the Washington County Narcotics Task Force with assistance from the Central Minnesota Violent Offender Task Force, the criminal complaint said.
“A subsequent search of the defendant’s vehicle and home produced approximately 305 dosage units of synthetic acid,” the complaint said. An analysis by the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension identified the drug as a synthetic known as 25i-NBOMe, the complaint said.
Fred Fink, criminal division chief in the Washington County Attorney’s office, said the Stearns County charges are “absolutely connected” to the third-degree murder charges filed against Claussen in May in connection with the overdose death of Tara Fitzgerald, 17, an honor student and a junior at Woodbury High School.
In January, Fitzgerald took a synthetic tablet that was marketed as LSD and died hours later at her Woodbury home. According to charges filed in Washington County District Court, the drug that killed her was traced to Claussen’s residence in St. Cloud that he called “the castle.”
Also charged in Washington County with third-degree murder were four Woodbury teenagers alleged to have participated in the drug-dealing chain: Sydney Claire Johnson, Alistair Curtis Berg and Brian Phillip Norlander, all 17; and Cole Alexander Matenaer, 19.
Matenaer pleaded guilty earlier this month and will be sentenced Oct. 10. Court hearings to determine adult certification for Johnson, Berg and Norlander will be held this fall.
Investigators arrested Claussen on April 3 and found the 305 doses while at his home, the Stearns County complaint said.
Kevin Giles • 651-925-5037
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