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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.

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