Two charged in Bemidji drug bust

A Bemidji man and a Red Lake woman were charged Thursday for drug sales.

According to the criminal complaint, agents with the Paul Bunyan Drug Task Force and the FBI’s Headwaters Safe Trails Task Force had been investigating 25-year-old Derek Paddy and 26-year-old Wendi Fairbanks for a number of months, on suspicion of trafficking heroin and fentanyl to the Bemidji area.

The pair were known to be staying in hotels while in Bemidji, and last Tuesday, the US Marshall Service contacted the PBDTF and advised that Paddy was at the Hampton Inn and Suites.

On Wednesday, Fairbanks was seen exiting a hotel room on the fourth floor to retrieve a luggage cart, with Paddy seen pushing the cart toward the elevators.

FBI agents arrested Paddy before he made it on the lift for an outstanding warrant. His person was searched and several items of drug paraphernalia and drugs were found on him.

After a warrant was obtained to search the room, about 22 grams of suspected fentanyl was located, in addition to thousands of dollars in currency, packaging materials and digital scales.

Paddy is facing second degree drug sales, while Fairbanks is facing third degree sales.


Larissa Donovan is the News Director for the stations of Paul Bunyan Broadcasting and has been, almost without interruption, since Election Day 2016. She covers all the beats in north-central Minnesota, such as local government, crime, education, environment and social issues. She studied communications at Bemidji State University.


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