Details Emerge on Drug Investigation that Led to Three Charged
Charges of maintaining a drug trafficking place have been filed against an LCO man, James Valentin, 51, as the result of an investigation into drug trafficking in Sawyer County and a traffic stop on Dec. 14, 2017.
Valentin faces three and a half years in prison and a fine of not more than $10,000 for his role in the drug activity that took place at his residence on the Lac Courte Oreilles Reservation at 7074 N Sandy Point Road.
According to the criminal complaint, on Oct. 11, 2017, a confidential source contacted a Sawyer County detective about drug activity in the county. The source told the detective that Valentin had no job but was spending money “all over the place” including at the LCO Casino.
The source also said Valentin had a truck that was broke down and it was fixed, and that he didn’t have money to fix it.
“Two people from an ongoing drug investigation are now living with Valentin,” the source told the detective and said they knew one of the persons name was Elizabeth from a drug raid that occurred in June of 2017.
The detective reported this was Elizabeth Reed and the other was a male individual named Koutkeo Lovan, who were arrested in a June 30 Sawyer County SWAT raid at a residence on Oak Road. Lovan is believed to be in the Triads gang, according to the complaint.
Other information the detective obtained included Valentin’s mother owned all the land where he lived and her home which was next door on the same property. Valentin lived in a trailer on the property and he owned the trailer. Valentin, Reed and Lovan were using a bright red Ford 150 that belonged to his mother to drive back and forth to Minneapolis to buy drugs.
One source informed the detective that Valentin returned from the military and got addicted to pills, but, turned to methamphetamine, according to the complaint.
From Oct. 10 to Oct. 13, a trail camera was set up at the end of Valentin’s driveway, and the detective reported that you could identify Valentin driving the red Ford truck multiple times from the driveway and that he had multiple people with him on multiple occasions, but you couldn’t identify who they were.
“On Oct. 31, 2017, I met with a different confidential source at the Sawyer County Jail who, under Miranda warning, provided the following information about drug trafficking,” the detective reported. On Oct. 25, the source was arrested after leaving Valentin’s house by New Post and believed the house was being watched by the cops, according to the complaint.
“There is an oriental man named Smiley living there with his girlfriend Liz Reed,” the source told the detective.
The detective also reported that Lovan was arrested in November of 2016 for possession of marijuana with intent to deliver in Burnett County, where Wisconsin Circuit Court Access Points shows he has a case pending.
The source told the detective that Smiley also sells methamphetamine and that he hasn’t stopped and that he frequents the Twin Cities to buy large amounts of meth and that he uses Valentin’s truck, according to the complaint.
On Nov. 27, the criminal complaint states that Judge John Yackel authorized a warrant for detectives to install a GPS tracker on Valentin’s truck, and on Nov. 28, detectives covertly installed the tracker on Valentin’s truck while it was parked at the residence, and they were undetected.
On Dec. 7, detectives using a confidential informant (CI) were able to make a controlled delivery of $550 to Lovan at the residence on Sandy Point Road in exchange for a half-ounce of methamphetamine, according to the complaint. The CI gave Lovan the money on Dec. 7 and picked up the half-ounce of meth on Dec. 8.
According to the complaint, Lovan is heard telling the CI on audio surveillance that he will get him the half-ounce for the $550 but had to wait for Jim (Valentin) to get back, and that CI should be able to pick up the meth on Dec. 8 in the morning.
The detective reported that the amount picked up was 19.6 grams of meth in packaged weight, the complaint stated.
On Dec. 12, the detective reported a similar transaction took place with $1,100 for a full ounce of meth on this occasion. The CI gave Lovan the money up front and Lovan brought him back the meth, according to the complaint.
On December 14, 2017 at about 2:10 a.m., Sawyer County Deputies, assisted by Sawyer County SWAT, Sawyer County K-9 Oscar and his handler Deputy Dennis Nelson, executed a traffic stop of a vehicle on Company Lake Road in the Town of Lenroot in Sawyer County, according to a sheriff’s office press release. K-9 Oscar subsequently indicated a positive hit in the dashboard area of the vehicle, where methamphetamine was located.
A search warrant was executed on the residence on Sandy Point Road as a result of the investigation as well. A total of 62.7 grams of methamphetamine, a digital scale and various items of drug paraphernalia were seized.
Valentin was charged with maintaining a drug trafficking place and has a scheduling conference on Jan. 9, at 8:30 a.m.
Lovan has been charged with possession with intent to deliver amphetamine and felony bail jumping. He also faces felony charges from the June 30 raid which include possession with intent to deliver amphetamine and possessing drug paraphernalia meant to manufacture, produce or store methamphetamine. Lovan has a status conference set for Feb. 13 at 10:00 a.m.
Reed faces a possession of meth charge, as well as paraphernalia and felony bail jumping in this new case, and she has five counts of uttering a forgery against her filed in September, as well as possession of an illegally obtained prescription and felony bail jumping filed in October. Reed has court on Jan. 9 at 11:00 a.m.
Pursuant to the direction of the Wisconsin Supreme Court, as found in Supreme Court Rule 20:3.6, Trial Publicly, you are advised that a charge is merely an accusation and that a defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty.