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Emily Welker, Published October 17 2013

Inmate charged with having drugs mailed to him at Cass jail

FARGO – A Cass County Jail inmate has been charged with dealing a drug to other inmates after allegedly working out a way to place the drug under the stamps of letters addressed to him and other inmates.

Andrew Harlan Stenerson, who is 21 or 22, of Adams, was charged Thursday in Cass County District Court with one count of delivery of buprenorphine and one count of possession of a controlled substance by an inmate, both Class B felonies.

Buprenorphine, also known as suboxone, is a prescription narcotic used to treat opiate dependence, such as heroin addiction.

According to court documents filed in the case:

E A person in the Cass County Jail told Cass County Drug Task Force Officer Joe Gress last Friday that Stenerson was getting narcotics through the mail.

E The inmate told Gress that Stenerson was getting the suboxone mailed in under the stamps.

E Gress intercepted a letter addressed to Stenerson and found an orange film under the stamp with the marking “N8.” It tested positive for opium alkaloids.

E Gress found three more envelopes with similarly packaged suboxone in Stenerson’s jail cell.

E In interviews with Stenerson, Gress found out that Stenerson had told another inmate that Stenerson’s girlfriend had a suboxone prescription.

E A second inmate asked Stenerson to get his girlfriend to mail the drug into the jail, which Stenerson initially refused.

E Stenerson told Gress the second inmate had been receiving suboxone in the mail but thought jail staff might have caught on, so the mailings stopped.

E A third inmate who heard about the prescription threatened Stenerson to get him to start receiving the drug at the jail, and the second inmate and Stenerson agreed.

E Stenerson told Gress, through the course of more than one interview, that he received seven letters from different people, which he then delivered to the second inmate. He also used some of the drug himself.

E Court records show Stenerson was serving time in the jail on a probation violation of previous convictions for drug paraphernalia possession and ingesting a controlled substance.

Stenerson’s bail was set at $500. His next court appearance is set for Nov. 14.

Readers can reach Forum reporter

Emily Welker at (701) 241-5541