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Felony drug cases moving forward

The 28 suspects swept up in a major drug bust are working their way through the Ninth Judicial District Court system.

The Hubbard County Attorney's Office is prosecuting the cases.

The investigations, largely performed within the last six months, reached their conclusion March 28, ultimately leading to the arrest of 28 suspects for various felony-level offenses involving the sale and possession of illegal drugs.

It was a collaborative effort between the Hubbard County Sheriff's Office, Park Rapids Police Department, Paul Bunyan Drug Task Force, Headwaters Safe Trails FBI Task Force, Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension, Bureau of Indian Affairs, U.S. Border Patrol, FBI and West Central Drug Task Force.

County Attorney Jonathan Frieden explained that some individuals have posted bail, but all had conditions set for their release and can be arrested if they break those conditions. The amount of bail and conditions were set by the judge at a Rule 5 first appearance hearing. Standard conditions include obeying all laws, refraining from drug and alcohol use and/or participating in testing, travel restrictions and not possessing any weapons.

At a Rule 8 arraignment hearing, the judge advises the defendants of their rights and the charges against them.

In felonies cases, a defendant may not enter a guilty or not guilty plea until the Rule 11 omnibus hearing, Frieden explained. During an omnibus, or pre-trial, hearing, the court determines whether probable cause exists. The prosecutor or defendant may offer evidence. If the defendant enters a plea other than guilty, a trial date must be set. By pleading guilty, the defendant waives the right to a trial by a jury or a judge.

Several suspects remain in custody, such as Lance Schoeberl, 49, and Jacqueline Schoeberl, 42, of Park Rapids. They are both charged with first-degree drug sale and first-degree drug possession.