Nine of 12 people arrested early on the Fourth of July after allegedly doing thousands of dollars in damage to three buildings in a drunken spree at Afton State Park have been charged in Washington County District Court.
Also, Washington County deputies arrested a 13th suspect at his residence in Savage.
The damage at the 1,700-acre park along the St. Croix River was the most serious in a rough holiday weekend for many other state-owned parks and campgrounds that were vandalized after being left abandoned and vulnerable by the government shutdown, now a week old.
Charged are: Malik A. Butler Martinez, 23; Abadir M. Daoued, 23; James J. Flagg, 20; David McLin, 20; Emily K. Miller, 20; Ariel L. Neally, 19; John R. Scott, 18; Joseph B. Slater, 20; and Alexander B. Witso, 19.
All are from Rosemount except McLin, who is from Apple Valley.
They have each been charged with aiding and abetting third-degree burglary and first-degree property damage, both felonies. Miller and Neally have also been charged with underage liquor consumption, a misdemeanor.
A St. Louis Park man and another Rosemount woman who were arrested have not been charged, said Fred Fink, head of the criminal division in the Washington County attorney's office. It appears likely they will be charged with a misdemeanor, he said. A juvenile girl also was taken into custody, and because of her age, legal proceedings are not public.
According to the criminal complaint:
A Washington County sheriff's deputy was called to the park about 7 a.m. Monday by a passerby who saw a broken window at the park's main office building and computer equipment strewn outside. While checking the burglarized building, the deputy saw Slater hiding in some nearby weeds, and arrested him. Slater's blood-alcohol level later registered 0.12.
While police spoke with Slater, a blue sport-utility vehicle sped past on the hiking path and was stopped. Inside were Witso, Daoued and Miller. Miller's blood-alcohol level was measured at 0.10.
Another deputy arrived, driving through other areas of the park looking for suspects, and came upon a heavily damaged camper cabin. Several empty whiskey bottles were on the ground, catsup and mustard had been smeared on the deck, windows were smashed and a blue permanent marker was used to scrawl profanities and other writing on the walls. Shingles, a table and other items had been torn from the cabin -- built just last year -- and used for firewood, and were still smoldering nearby.
A second cabin also sustained minor damage.
Three other vehicles were found in the park. Slater told investigators he had disassembled the locking mechanism on a gate barring vehicles from the park when it had closed on June 30. Some suspects were in the vehicles, others were found hiding in the park.
Investigators found the main office ransacked. The door had been kicked in, and items tossed to the floor. Computer equipment was taken from shelves that were torn from walls. Electrical power had been turned off and a surveillance camera turned to the wall.
A spotting scope valued at $2,000, a small refrigerator and electronic gear were missing.
A park manager put damages in the thousands of dollars.
Jim Anderson • 651-735-0999