Sheldon grad accused of dealing to students


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100 points

SHELDON—A 2020 Sheldon High School graduate is accused of selling marijuana, marijuana edibles and THC vape cartridges to his former schoolmates including a cart that caused an “overdose.”

A search warrant application filed by officer Eric Meinecke of the Sheldon Police Department connects 18-year-old Shawn Rutzen to at least two drug deals with Sheldon students dating back to September.

Shawn Rutzen and his mother, Deann, were arrested on Thursday, Nov. 12, at their residence at 1611 E. Ninth St. Shawn Rutzen faces charges of first-offense possession of marijuana and possession of drug paraphernalia.

His 46-year-old mother was cited for interference with official acts after she “knowingly obstructed an investigation by hiding controlled substances and drug paraphernalia,” according to the incident report.

According to the search warrant application, Sheldon police started investigating Shawn Rutzen on Sept. 17. A parent found THC vape cartridges — THC is the main psychoactive chemical of the marijuana plant and is what gets people high — in his daughter’s room and contacted the police.

When interviewed by Meinecke, the girl told an officer she purchased the cartridges from Rutzen and the parent showed the officer Snapchat screenshots of his daughter setting up a buy with Rutzen.

A second student wrote Meinecke a statement on Sept. 22 accusing Rutzen of supplying him with THC cartridges. The statement says he went to Rutzen’s home to buy carts and that Rutzen sells marijuana and edibles.

A month later, Meinecke assisted the Sheldon Community Ambulance Team on a call to the high school for a student who had “overdosed” on a vape cartridge and was found unresponsive.

Meinecke said the student told him she purchased the cartridge from Rutzen. The student also told Meinecke she arranged a transaction with Rutzen through their cellphone and met Rutzen near Thorman Park to complete the deal.

When reached for comment, Sheldon School District superintendent Cory Myer said he was not aware of the connections between Rutzen and students.

He also noted he could not comment on whether or not students tied to Rutzen were connected to recent disciplinary actions — including expulsions — at the high school.

Officers executed a search warrant on Rutzen’s home and vehicle — a 2004 Chevrolet Monte Carlo — on Nov. 12, which was when he and his mother were arrested.

During the search, officers seized:

  • A marijuana pipe.
  • 50 grams of marijuana in a baggie.
  • Two silicone containers containing THC wax.
  • Three THC vape cartridges.
  • Two glass containers with ground marijuana.
  • A multicolored marijuana grinder.
  • Five THC wave containers with residue.
  • Three blunts including one that had been lit.
  • Baggies containing a green leafy substance.
  • A THC brownie wrapped in aluminum foil.
  • Wax papers with THC shatter residue.
  • A toy handgun with the tip removed.
  • Rutzen’s iPhone.
  • Other destroyed baggies.

Deann Rutzen bailed Shawn Rutzen out of the O’Brien County Jail in Primghar the same day as the search.

Shawn Rutzen had his initial court appearance Monday, Dec. 1, and applied for and was approved for a court-appointed attorney. He is represented by Tobias Cosgrove of Sibley. Cosgrove had no comment at this time.

In his application, Rutzen listed employment at ROME Grinding Solutions in Sheldon and noted his mother lost her job following his arrest. According to her Facebook profile, she provided in-home day-care service.


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