Charges Dismissed In Alleged Child Rape Incident; Drug Ring Arrests In Duluth; Busy Road Construction Season Coming

(Bemidji) The Beltrami County Attorney said Tuesday that he is dismissing charges against a 23-year-old man after DNA evidence excluded him from the rape of an 11-year-old girl in Bemidji last year.

Oscar Luna remains in custody on an active warrant out of Hennepin County for a third-degree DWI from March of last year. The first-degree criminal sexual conduct case will be dismissed and he will be transferred to the jail in downtown Minneapolis.

County Attorney David Hanson told the Star Tribune his office spoke to the girl’s mom and dad before the dismissal announcement Tuesday, adding that her parents “were of course upset at the system and the process.”

Luna is a U.S. citizen born in McAllen, Texas. His public defender Steve Bergeson said  that his client intends to plead guilty to a third-degree meth possession charge stemming from when authorities executed a search warrant after the reported sexual assault. (Star Tribune)

>>US Attorney Announces Charges Against Drug Ring In Duluth

(Duluth, MN)    Members of a drug trafficking ring are facing federal charges in Duluth.  U.S. Attorney Andrew Luger announced the indictments against the eight suspects in the case yesterday.  Investigators worked for two years to gather evidence against the suspects, which include seven people from Chicago and one man from Duluth.  The suspects were charged with conspiracy to distribute fentanyl and meth and have already had their first court appearance. (24/7 News Source)

>MnDOT Planning More Than 200 Construction Projects This Year

(St. Paul, MN)    The Minnesota Department of Transportation is planning a busy construction season for the state’s roads and highways.  The agency announced more than 200 construction projects yesterday, including 193 road and bridge projects.  Another 54 projects will make improvements at airports, railroad crossings and other transit-related locations.  MnDOT Commissioner Nancy Daubenberger reminded drivers to take special care in highway work zones to reduce crashes and injuries during the upcoming construction season.(24/7 News Source)

>>Family Seeking Answers After Disappearance Of Peter Martin

(Duluth, MN)    A northern Minnesota family is asking federal investigators to get involved in the search for a missing man.  Thirty-one-year-old Peter Martin has been missing for more than three weeks.  Martin is a member of the Fond du Lac Band of Lake Superior Chippewa and his family says tribal police have not done enough to try to find him.  They held a rally over the weekend outside the federal building in Duluth in hopes of getting the FBI involved in the investigation.  The Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension is taking an interest in the case and plans to meet with tribal leaders to discuss it.(24/7 News Source)

>>Powerball Ticket Wins $1M In Minnesota

(Fridley, MN)    Minnesota Lottery officials say a one-million-dollar Powerball ticket was purchased at a convenience store in Fridley.  The ticket matched five numbers in Monday night’s drawing but missed the Powerball number.  Two 50-thousand-dollar tickets were also purchased for Monday night’s drawing in Monticello and Burnsville.  Tonight’s estimated Powerball jackpot is just under one-point-one-billion dollars.(24/7 News Source)

>>St. Cloud May Become Home To Space Shuttle Replica

(St. Cloud, MN)    A Minnesota city could soon be home to a full-scale replica of the space shuttle.  St. Cloud Mayor Dave Kleis mentioned the possibility yesterday in his State of the City address.  The replica is currently housed near Kennedy Space Center in Florida and is owned by St. Cloud resident Felicity-John Pederson.  Supporters of the project want to place the shuttle next to a planned children’s museum.  Pederson says the move would cost about a million dollars and could happen before the end of this year.(24/7 News Source)

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