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Associated Press, Published August 29 2013

ND Supreme Court reverses synthetic drug case conviction

BISMARCK — The North Dakota Supreme Court has reversed the convictions of two Mandan business owners charged in a synthetic drug case.

William Nickel and Ryan Zueger, the owners of Big Willies smoke shop, were convicted last year of conspiracy to deliver synthetic drugs.

The court said in an opinion released Thursday that police officers illegally seized and searched a package that a representative of the business had intended to deliver.

The defendants had argued that the evidence should not have been allowed at trial because officers did not have a search warrant.

The ruling says a judge allowed the evidence because an employee of the shipping outlet opened the package and the officers had enough information to establish probable cause.

Attorneys in the case were not available for comment.

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