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Former DNR officer, Bigfork resident, sentenced in drug case

Former Minnesota Conservation Officer Brian Buria of Bigfork was sentenced Monday on two counts of felony possession of controlled drugs.

Buria, 47, received five years' probation and a stayed sentence on the two counts. He will serve 45 days of electronic monitoring, pay fines of $1,135, submit to chemical dependency evaluation, abstain from alcohol and drugs, be subject to spot checks by law enforcement officers, provide a DNA sample and complete a cognitive skills testing course.

Buria had pleaded guilty to the charges on July 27 in Itasca County District Court, according to the Itasca County Attorney's Office.

On Feb. 19 officers used a search warrant to enter Buria's home and found steroids, marijuana and oxycodone. Buria initially was charged with five counts of illegally possessing drugs, including receiving valium through the mail from Hong Kong without a prescription. Three of the counts were dismissed in exchange for his guilty plea.

Buria had been with the DNR since 1986. He was suspended in August 2008 pending a DNR investigation on another matter. He has since been dismissed from the DNR.

In February Buria told the News Tribune he was innocent of the drug charges and that all his medications were obtained through legal prescriptions. He said he needed the medications for a medical condition.