Ex-deputy facing drug charges has hearing set

A former Washington County Sheriff’s deputy accused of stealing prescription drugs from WCSO drug take-back bins faces five charges at a mid-June omnibus hearing.

Ricky Harry Gruber, 43, of Oakdale, is charged in connection with stealing drugs from the Washington County Law Enforcement Center prescription drug drop-off site in Stillwater. Gruber was a 15-year WCSO employee until he resigned Feb. 12, shortly after co-workers caught him stealing the prescription drugs from the bin.

Gruber faces five separate charges, fifth-degree drug possession, two counts of theft of movable property, misconduct of public officer or employee, and unlawful possession of pharmacy drugs.

Gruber’s pretrial/omnibus hearing is 9:30 a.m. June 18.

Gruber is one of five people sentenced or making initial appearances in the 10th Judicial District Court in connection with drug-related incidents.

Two inmates at the Minnesota Correctional Facility-Stillwater in Bayport had initial court appearances last week in connection with an alleged scheme to smuggle contraband into the prison. The inmates are identified in probable cause statements as Jarvis Jermaine Atkinson and Leon Edward Lasley.

The statement alleges that on Jan. 24, a prison visitor was allegedly seen passing contraband to Atkinson. The items included 81 oxycontin pills stored in a black balloon found in Atkinson’s underwear during an unclothed search.

The statement also alleges that during the exchange, Lasley attempted to distract corrections officers from the exchange by blocking the officers’ view of the exchange between the visitor and Atkinson.

The probable cause statement concerning Lasley notes that phone calls made by Atkinson and Lasley allegedly implicate them in plans to smuggle the pills into the prison.

The complaint said the woman involved later sent an e-mail apologizing for her participation in the alleged crime.

In a separate incident, a St. Paul woman identified in court documents as Kristina Marie Eide was sentenced to three years probation and fined $50 on a drug possession-related charge in connection with an incident Sept. 25, 2012.

Court documents said after Eide and a man entered the Oak Park Heights Walmart, Oak Park Heights Police officers learned the car the two were in was reported stolen. Officers detained the man when he left the store.

An hour later, Eide left the store and walked away from the car before she was detained. The complaint states that during a search it was discovered that she had stolen Sharpie pens from Walmart and methamphetamine was discovered in her purse. She admitted using the drug earlier in the day to officers.

And another MCF-Stillwater inmate was sentenced to 21 months and fined $50 after he was found guilty of helping smuggle narcotics into the facility in 2011.

The man, identified in complaint reports as Tareace Jathar Holbrook, made 26 calls to a woman, Alysha Bros, discussing how to obtain, package and deliver narcotics to the Bayport prison. Other calls were monitored due to these calls and three other inmates began telling people how to get drugs to Bros. On Nov. 7, 2011, officers were walking along the catwalks when they noticed a small object. It contained a liquid vial which tested positive for phencyclidine as well as marijuana.