If you’re a current subscriber, log in below. If you would like to subscribe, please click the subscribe tab above.
Username and Password Help
By LeAnn R. Ralph
MENOMONIE — A 58-year-old former Knapp man has pleaded not guilty to six drug related felonies and two misdemeanors in Dunn County Circuit Court.
Richard L. Skramstad appeared for an arraignment hearing before Judge James Peterson June 24 to enter a not-guilty plea.
Skramstad is charged with six felony counts of manufacturing or delivering methamphetamine in an amount greater than 50 grams, between 10 and 50 grams and between three and 10 grams; manufacturing or delivering cocaine in an amount between one and five grams; and possession of methamphetamine with intent to deliver in an amount between 10 and 50 grams. He also is charged with misdemeanor counts of possessing drug paraphernalia and operating without a valid driver’s license (second time within three years).
Each of the felonies carries a modifier of a second or subsequent offense.
Bail was set at $20,000 cash May 17, and at the time of the arraignment hearing June 24, Skramstad remained in custody at the Dunn County jail.
Skramstad is scheduled for another court hearing July 26.
According to the criminal complaint, investigators were conducting surveillance of Skramstad on April 1 when he pulled into the parking lot of the Goodwill store in Menomonie, parked, and then appeared to be waiting for someone.
A short while later, another car parked next to Skramstad, and a woman got out of the passenger side of the car and stood next to the window of Skramstad’s vehicle, where it appeared they conducted a hand-to-hand transaction of what investigators suspected was methamphetamine.
Skramstad drove away, and the woman went into the Goodwill store. The driver of the car drove across the street and entered Smokedale Tobacco, according to the complaint.
Investigators are familiar with Smokedale as a business that sells items which can be used for consuming drugs, such as methamphetamine pipes, the complaint states.
The woman who had gone into Smokedale had purchased a glass pipe and told investigators it was for her mother, the woman who had gone into Goodwill.
Based on the investigation involving Skramstad, the observation of a hand-to-hand transaction, the woman who had gone into Goodwill being known to the West Central Drug Task Force as a drug user, and the woman’s daughter buying a pipe for her, investigators asked the woman who had gone into Goodwill to go to the parking lot of Smokedale with them, to which she complied.
The woman told investigators she had just purchased a half an ounce of methamphetamine for $300 and that she had an additional black bag with suspected drugs to be delivered to a man named Todd or Tom who lives in the Knapp area. The woman said the half ounce of methamphetamine she had purchased was going to be sold to an individual from the Wheeler area, according to the complaint.
The contents of the black bag appeared to be 3.6 grams of cocaine and field tested positive, and another 17.9 grams of methamphetamine that field tested positive also were located. The woman said she was going to deliver the methamphetamine in exchange for $300 with the agreement that she would keep a small portion for herself, the complaint states.
Investigators met with a confidential informant, CI#2, who said he/she could purchase two ounces (56 grams) of methamphetamine from Richard Skramstad for $1,000.
CI#2 said Skramstad would complete the methamphetamine sale in the parking lot of Marketplace Foods in Menomonie, according to the complaint.
Investigators provided CI#2 with $1,000 of West Central Drug Task Force buy funds and equipped CI#2 with audio and video body wires.
CI#2 met Skramstad in the Marketplace parking lot, and investigators observed the hand-to-hand transaction and were able to positively identify the man as Skramstad.
CI#2 gave investigators a box when they met at a pre-determined location that contained the suspected methamphetamine but only contained one ounce, or approximately 28 grams, the complaint states.
CI#2 called Skramstad, who said he was not the one who had weighed the methamphetamine but said he would meet CI#2 to “make it right” and provide the second ounce.
“CI#2 conducted the control buy of methamphetamine for consideration of pending charges,” according to the complaint.
The next day, CI#2 said Skramstad had said he could provide the second ounce of methamphetamine and would also sell an additional ounce for $500.
Skramstad arrived at the Marketplace parking lot and then got into CI#2’s vehicle.
Investigators listened over the live audio feed and heard Skramstad talking about drug weights and prices and said he had three different sources from which he could obtain methamphetamine. Skramstad told the CI he could sell any weight and would charge $3,000 for a half pound, according to the complaint.
CI#2 met the investigators at a pre-determined location and handed over a box containing the suspected methamphetamine. CI#2 said the way Skramstad was talking, he/she believes Skramstad is well connected with methamphetamine sources, the complaint states.
Through the use of electronic equipment, investigators determined that Skramstad’s vehicle was located at a residence on county Highway F in the Town of Sherman on April 20, according to the complaint.
The occupant of the residence has been identified in electronic surveillance and by his own admission to be a customer of Skramstad’s. The man and his girlfriend also have failed drug tests through Dunn County Human Services, the complaint states.
Investigators obtained a search warrant the next day for the residence in the Town of Sherman. The man at first denied having seen Skramstad, but when investigators said they knew Skramstad had been to his house, the man said he would show investigators where the methamphetamine was located.
The man took investigators to a detached garage to a container of nuts and bolts and said the methamphetamine was buried in the container. Investigators located the suspected methamphetamine, which subsequently weighed 3.5 grams and field tested positive, according to the complaint.
The man said he would complete a written statement and showed investigators a picture of a cashed check written to Skramstad for methamphetamine.
According to the complaint, the Dunn County district attorney’s office is aware that Skramstad qualifies as a subsequent offender since he was convicted of selling narcotic drugs in Steele County, Minnesota, in January of 2014, and the conviction remains unreversed.
Of the six felonies with which Skramstad is charged, one is a Class C, three are Class D felonies, one is a Class E and and one is a Class F.
If convicted, Skramstad faces a possible penalty of more than 142 years in prison and/or fines of up to $475,000.
The modifier of a second or subsequent offense for each felony can add up to either four years or six years to the prison sentence, and the defendant’s operating privileges can be suspended for not less than six months and not more than 5 years.