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Man who supplied drugs that killed teens sentenced

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FARGO, N.D. (AP) — A 19-year-old man from North Dakota was sentenced to more than a decade in prison Thursday for supplying synthetic drugs blamed for the overdose deaths of two teens, a case that launched an investigation stretching into Texas that netted 15 arrests.

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Adam Budge, originally from Fargo, pleaded guilty in September to conspiracy to distribute the controlled substances that led to the deaths of Christian Bjerk, 18, of Grand Forks, and Elijah Stai, 17 of Park Rapids, Minn. They died within a week of each in June 2012, after ingesting the substances Budge stole from another dealer.

U.S. District Judge Ralph Erickson said during the hearing the conspiracy involved "a bunch of kids in this case who all thought they were amateur chemists" and adults who failed to intervene. Supporters of Budge filled four rows in the federal courthouse.

"Our first job is to keep everybody alive," Erickson said, raising his voice. "It's time for the adults to act like adults."

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