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Associated Press, Published September 05 2012

Grand Forks man charged with dealing drugs in overdose deaths

FARGO — A 22-year-old North Dakota man accused of cooking up synthetic drugs that led to the overdose deaths of two teens has been indicted by a federal grand jury.

Andrew Spofford, of Grand Forks, pleaded not guilty Wednesday to five counts, including conspiracy to distribute controlled substances resulting in serious bodily injury and death.

Police say 18-year-old Christian Bjerk, of Grand Forks, and 17-year-old Elijah Stai, of Park Rapids, Minn., died of apparent drug overdoses from the hallucinogens.

Authorities believe Spofford manufactured the drugs by mixing chemicals ordered through the mail. He allegedly told police he was a “hobby chemist.”

Spofford, one of several people charged, faces a maximum penalty of life in prison and a mandatory minimum term of 20 years if convicted. Trial is scheduled for Nov. 16.

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