Troubling bath salts cases in circuit court|
Four Antigo men jailed this week on suspected use of bath salts must post cash bail before being released from custody.
In a bid to perhaps help slow the growing trend of re-offenders who have and are possibly continuing to use the drug, Langlade County Judge Fred Kawalski Thursday set bond amounts ranging between $1,000 and $10,000 cash for four Antigo men jailed in connection with the substance.
Although stressing that the charges are only allegations, the judge called the chemical an“extremely addictive and debilitating drug” and reflected on his ever-growing list of bath salt cases, many of which involve the same defendant getting in trouble for similar offenses time and time again.
Of the four men making appearances, three are facing counts of bail jumping due to pending drug-related charges.
Bail was set at $10,000 cash for Jerry M. Piper, 36, of 1224 Fifth Ave. on four criminal charges dating to his Sept. 3 arrest. They include two for bail jumping and one each for possession of drug paraphernalia and possession of a firearm as a felon.
The troubles developed just five days after Piper was released from custody after posting a $3,000 cash bond set in pending criminal matters. A move to forfeit that money to the court is afoot.
Piper was arrested Monday when Antigo police conducted a welfare check and discovered him acting in an unusual manner. Family members said he had been pacing back and forth, “slamming things” around the house, talking to himself and in general “doing strange things.”
According to reports, he admitted to using bath salts earlier that day.
Officials said used syringes, plastic bags, a scoop and other drug paraphernalia, as well as a firearm, were removed from the residence.
Travis J. Koeppel, 33, of W7009 Marl Road was also arrested Monday and is now jailed on a $5,000 cash bond facing counts of bail jumping, disorderly conduct, resisting arrest and possession of drug paraphernalia.
Appearing in court via a video hook-up from the jail, Koeppel denied the allegations, stating “I didn’t do anything wrong” and arguing that bath salts were not an issue as “I was not on it.”
District Attorney Ralph Uttke stated differently, describing the defendant as “out of control.”
According to a criminal complaint which is based on information provided by Antigo police, Koeppel was arrested when officers were summoned to the Family Dollar store on the report that a man acting strangely had entered the business. He evidently had earlier been spotted sitting in his vehicle, rocking back and forth, before exiting the truck, waving his arms and “doing strange things with his body.”
Police said he became argumentative when questioned on his actions and when told he would be taken into custody, he allegedly struggled with officers both in the store and while being escorted to the squad car. Officials said his behavior stretched from crying one moment to yelling and screaming the next, a common sign of bath salt usage.
Authorities said a pipe commonly used to ingest the substance was found in his pocket.
Additional counts, including a charge of possessing drug paraphernalia dating to July, remain pending.
Bail was also set at $5,000 cash for Greg Krueger, 27, of 1009 Edison St. on charges of possession of a controlled substance, possession of drug paraphernalia and two counts of bail jumping.
The charges were filed after Krueger was arrested Wednesday on an outstanding warrant filed after he failed to appear in court on multiple drug charges, including the possession with intent to abuse a hazardous substance (bath salts) earlier this year.
According to the complaint, law officers found a pipe in his vehicle which was likely for ingesting bath salts. Also seized were a torch head and two bags with trace amounts of suspected salts.
Police indicated that following his arrest, Krueger was “constantly mumbling and talking to himself.”
Judge Kawalski ruled that the $500 cash Krueger had posted to earn his freedom in the pending two cases would be forfeited to the court.
Bail was set at $1,000 cash for Joshua I. Miller, 28, of 608 Forrest Ave. on two counts — possession with intent to abuse a hazardous substance (bath salts) and possession of drug paraphernalia.
He too was arrested Wednesday after officers checked the report of a man sitting inside a vehicle at a Sixth Avenue parking lot. The caller advised that he “appeared to be under the influence of something.”
Officials agreed with the description, indicating that he seemed agitated and “high.” The man denied ingesting anything illegal but a subsequent investigation suggested otherwise.
According to records, a glass pipe containing burned residue was removed from his vehicle and following his arrest, a bag containing a white powder testing positive for PVP, a known “salt,” was found in his pocket.
As condition of bail, Judge Kawalski ordered that all four of the men not use or possess bath salts or being in the company of those who do.
All of the matters were scheduled to return to court next week.
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