Four-time drug offender wrestled to ground by officers

By Jeffrey Hage, Princeton Union-Eagle

A four-time drug offender was one of two people behind bars Tuesday after an alleged theft of anhydrous ammonia from the Federated Co-op plant at 6467 100th Ave., a few miles north of Princeton.

David A. Swenson, age 30, North Branch, and Tammy Lynn Marsh, 20, of Willow River, were being held in the Mille Lacs County Jail on felony charges of stealing anhydrous ammonia, transporting the ammonia in an unlawful container and tampering with equipment or a facility used to contain the ammonia. The pair each faces a felony count of fifth degree drug possession, while Swenson faces a fifth charge of marijuana possession.

Deputies with the Mille Lacs County Sheriff’s Department were tipped off to the theft at about midnight by a Federated employee who saw Swenson’s green Ford Taurus parked near one of the anhydrous ammonia tanks.

The employee observed an individual place a propane tank with a hose into the trunk of the vehicle. The employee was able to get a license plate number off the vehicle.

Swenson and Marsh left Federated Co-op, and turned south onto Highway 169. A sheriff’s deputy located their vehicle at Highway 169 and Highway 95 and followed them east into the city of Princeton. The vehicle was pulled over on Rum River Drive and 2nd Street N.

Swenson, who was driving, was nervous and his hands were visibly shaking, a deputy noted in his report. Both Swenson and Marsh said they were coming from her parents’ house.

Swenson was asked to exit the vehicle. He refused twice — saying that he’s always harassed by cops — before complying with deputies. But he became increasingly agitated, according to a criminal complaint filed in Mille Lacs County District Court.

He even tried to take off running, the report states. As he became more uncooperative, he allegedly began yelling and screaming. In all, five law enforcement officers ended up on the scene. Swenson had to be physically wrestled to the ground, a deputy’s report states.

While officers tried to calm down Swenson, they found two baggies that were later confirmed to be marijuana. Officers located, in the vehicle, a coffee filter with a white powder later identified as methamphetamine, as well as a glass pipe that can be used to ingest meth. There was also a digital scale that also had a powdery substance on it.

In the trunk of the vehicle was a modified propane tank that had a green hose coming from it. Gloves and duct tape were also found in the trunk, the complaint states. The trunk smelled of anhydrous ammonia, deputies stated in their reports.

Both Swenson and Marsh were then placed under arrest.

Swenson interrupted the reading of their Miranda rights, the complaint states, saying that he took full responsibility for what was in the car and that Marsh knew nothing about the items found. The two were transported to the Mille Lacs County Jail.

Swenson had prior convictions for first degree manufacturing of a controlled substance in October 2005 in Isanti County Court and in Pine County in September 2005. He was convicted of fifth degree controlled substance charges in September 2009 in Chisago County. In September 2011 he was convicted of possessing methamphetamines in Pine County.

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