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Drug dealing charge dismissed due to failure to ‘knock and announce’

Another charge remains against Ronan man

POLSON — A charge of possession with intent to distribute illegal drugs was dismissed last month against a Ronan man while another charge remains. 

The Lake County Attorney’s Office filed two separate charges against Brian Francis Charette, 44, stemming from Dec. 30, 2016, and June 2. 

Deputy county attorney James Lapotka said he was forced to move for dismissal of the Dec. 30 charge after Judge James A. Manley ruled that the evidence was collected illegally. 

In that case, deputies went to Charette’s property on David Lane, which Lapotka called “a compound” in a remote, wooded area, and did not knock or announce their presence before entering a garage or workshop, where they subsequently found 14 loaded weapons, 15 grams of methamphetamine, $2,011 in cash, bags of baggies and a digital scale. 

Upon entering the building, a deputy saw Charette reaching for a loaded .22-caliber pistol, a court document states. 

Two hours earlier, a confidential informant had entered a house on the property through means of a proper “knock and announce” procedure, Manley ruled. 

Manley said Lapotka made a “persuasive case” in arguing that exceptions to the rule should be allowed, but noted that the deputies could have returned to the magistrate to get the search warrant modified for purposes of an exception because, in addition to Charette, another person at the property was known to be “very dangerous and involved in a prior shooting incident involving illegal drugs.” According to a court document, Charette was known by officers to be a regular drug seller and unusually dangerous. 

The second case, in which Charette allegedly sold 2 grams of methamphetamine for $160, is moving forward. An omnibus hearing is scheduled for Nov. 29 and a trial on Jan. 16.  

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