Maddock mayor accused of participating in drug, theft ring
The mayor of Maddock, N.D., is accused of being part of a ring that raided abandoned farmsteads and conspired to manufacture methamphetamine, Benson County Sheriff Steven Rohrer announced Friday.
Mayor Kevin Winson, who was arrested last month, and six others face drug and theft charges in state District Court.
"All these people are friends," Rohrer said. "It's not really one group; it was, like, several different groups. They just happened to all be doing the same thing."
The sheriff said the crimes took place over 18 months across numerous jurisdictions.
Rohrer said the group worked together to strip electrical wiring, containing copper, and plumbing fixtures, containing brass, from several unoccupied farmsteads. Through an investigation, thousands of dollars worth of stolen goods were recovered -- enough for the sheriff's department to fill a storage unit. Asked why the group had not sold the hot items, Rohrer said: "They were just packrats."
Several pounds of copper were seized, and investigators know that some of the stolen copper was sold, he said.
Rohrer would not go into details about the meth investigation but said it was learned that members of the group were scheming to manufacture the drug.
According to court documents, Winson, 47, broke into a Benson County home in November and stole a television, copper wire, plumbing, a bathroom sink, a folding table and windows still in the packaging.
It's also alleged that Winson and others bought and delivered Sudafed, an over-the-counter cold medicine, in an effort to manufacture the drug which, once produced, would be given to Winson and others, court documents state. In North Dakota and Minnesota, purchases of Sudafed, which can be used in making meth, are regulated.
Winson faces two felony counts: theft of property and conspiracy to make meth; and two misdemeanor counts: criminal trespass and ingesting a control substance. Explaining the last charge, Rohrer said Winson tested positive for meth after he was arrested in December.
Winson's court-appointed attorney, Coral Mahler, declined to comment Friday, saying it was early in the legal process and that she had not received all the police reports concerning her client. Attempts to reach Winson on Friday were unsuccessful.
As of earlier this month, Winson remained the mayor of Maddock, a town of about 480 people, but it was City Council President Rod Maddock who presided over a recent council meeting.
Winson is slated for a preliminary hearing March 9.
In addition to Winson, Bobby Gene Olson, 43, Harlow; Kimberly Ann Schiebe, 28, Mayville; Misty Dawn Hillebrand, 40, Devils Lake; Marc Randle, 44, Maddock; Shareen Roberts, 40, Oberon; and Robert's husband, Justin Stuart Roberts, 46, have been arrested and are facing various drug and/or theft charges. All have posted bail except Olson who remains in custody in Devils Lake.
Benson County has been investigating the group along with sheriff's departments in Wells, Eddy and Foster counties, police in the towns of Carrington and Harvey, as well as the state Bureau of Criminal Investigation.
Rohrer said the inquiry is ongoing and may lead to more charges and arrests. He encourages people to check their property to see if they've been the victim of any thefts.