Skip to main content

Police: 3 Minnesotans made fake report to divert SD police away drug investigation

Three people from Detroit Lakes are facing charges, with two of the men involved accused of making a false report of gunmen entering a local business.

In an attempt to divert police away from a drug investigation, police in South Dakota say men from Detroit Lakes, Minnesota, called in a fake armed robbery report. 

At about 8:39 p.m. on March 2, Watertown, South Dakota, police responded to a report of possible drug activity in a parking lot on 14th Avenue Southeast, making contact with "several individuals" in the parking lot, a March 4 news release says

While police were investigating, they say the individuals left and made a call to the Watertown Dispatch Center saying gunmen were entering a local business. 

Police "quickly" determined it was a false report and there were no armed gunmen. Those who made the call were arrested for terroristic threats and false reporting, the release says.

Meanwhile, police continued investigating the drug complaint and executed a search warrant on three cars, a camper and an Ice Castle fish house. Police say they found methamphetamine and drug paraphernalia and the fish house was determined to have been stolen from North Dakota, police said. 

Police arrested three people — Steven Barnes, 30, Stephan Bergeron, 27, and Alicia Mitzel, 19, — all from Detroit Lakes, Minnesota. 

Barnes and Bergeron are each charged with terroristic threats, false reporting, possession of stolen property, ingesting a controlled substance, possession of a controlled substance and possession of drug paraphernalia. Their bond was set at $10,000 each, according to Codington County, South Dakota, Jail records

Mitzel is charged with possession of a controlled substance and possession of drug paraphernalia. Her bond is set at $5,000, jail records show. 

Watertown, South Dakota, is a nearly three-hour drive from Detroit Lakes, Minnesota.

Note: The details provided in this story are based on the police’s latest version of events, and may be subject to change.

Next Up

fire truck

Explosion reported near Hastings; man airlifted to hospital

Authorities say the victim has serious injuries.

Screen Shot 2022-10-05 at 2.30.07 PM

School faces uncertain future after land sold to Catholic nonprofit

The school near Marine on St. Croix sits on land that's just been sold.


Boy suffers 'life-threatening' injuries in car-bike collision in Minneapolis

Police said the driver is cooperating with the investigation.

North Memorial Health Hospital

Man dies from gunshot wounds after Minneapolis shooting

The death marked the 69th homicide of the year in the city.


Gallery: Island cabin is one of northernmost homes for sale in MN

Want to buy one of the northernmost homes on the market in Minnesota?

Screen Shot 2022-09-30 at 4.54.42 PM

Charges: Houston men robbed Edina bank of $110,000

A third suspect has not yet been identified.

Arctic Monkeys

Arctic Monkeys coming to Minnesota for 2023 tour

The rock band hasn't gone on tour in the United States since 2019.


U.S. capitol insurrection

3 more Minnesotans charged in connection with U.S. Capitol insurrection

Two of the men are accused of using a law enforcement shield during the insurrection.

police lights

Police investigating drive-by shooting in Woodbury

The shots were fired from a "black BMW type car.”

airplane seats

Charges: Passenger had cocaine on flight that was diverted to MSP

Charges say he was acting erratically and had a baggie of cocaine in his seat.

Target headquarters

3 Minnesotans face additional charges in arson at Target headquarters

The three men were previously charged with arson in connection to the Aug. 26 fire following unrest in downtown Minneapolis.

Jeff Kazel duluth pd

35 arrested following months-long drug investigation

Duluth police worked with multiple jurisdictions across the state to dismantle a regional drug trafficking organization.

gabriel cruz

Charges: Drug deal goes bad as Bloomington man kills Burnsville man

Gabriel Cruz was meeting up with Bryant Lutgens to buy methamphetamines when he fatally shot him and took off with his belongings, charges state.

Orono police investigate suspected druggings at Lord Fletcher's

The lodge on the shores of Lake Minnetonka says it's helping police.

Charges: Pastor stole booze from liquor store, keyed customer's car

The 38 year old is facing theft and damage to property charges.