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Two people beaten over meth money, four captors in custody

BELTRAMI COUNTY -- Four people from Cass Lake have been arrested after allegedly kidnapping and beating two others in a meth-related incident in Beltrami County this past weekend.

On Sunday, Beltrami County Sheriff's deputies began an investigation into a report of kidnapping, false imprisonment and assault taking place at a residence on the 15500 block of Roosevelt Road SE in Beltrami County. By the end of the day Tuesday, four people had been taken into custody.

Arrested were:

Robert Joseph Jones, 33. Jones' criminal record includes assault, disorderly conduct, theft and terroristic threats.

Darlene Marie Wind, 31. Wind's criminal background includes a minor consumption and theft.

Joseph Harvey Bellanger, 31. Bellanger's criminal history includes assault, criminal sexual conduct, disorderly conduct, terroristic threats and false imprisonment.

John Jacob White, 24. White's criminal background includes minor consumption, DWI and theft.

All four appeared in Beltrami District court today facing identical charges of two counts of felony kidnapping and two counts of felony false imprisonment. They face up to 20 years imprisonment and a $35,000 fine for each kidnapping charge and up to three years imprisonment and a $5,000 fine for each false imprisonment charge.

Future court dates for defendants were not available from court this afternoon.

According to court documents, the two victims, a man and a woman, informed deputies they were taken against their will and transported to a residence on Roosevelt Road, where they were detained against their will, beaten, terrorized and eventually driven to a secluded location where they were dumped out next to a lake.

The female victim told deputies the incident stemmed from methamphetamine use on Friday. She said she told another woman she would be able to procure more methamphetamine and accepted $250 to do so. But she did not return with the drugs or the money, according to information in court documents.

On Saturday, the victim was confronted by White, Wind, Bellanger and Jones at Wind's residence on Porcupine Lane in Cass Lake. She told authorities she was put in a vehicle against her will and that her male friend was also in the car against his will. The pair had been together on Friday, she told authorities.

At Wind's residence, White, Bellanger, Jones and Wind duct taped the two and repeatedly demanded the $250 over the course of several hours, according to the report. The four co-defendants poured vodka down their victims' throats and periodically assaulted and threatened them before dumping them out of a car next to a lake, she told authorities.

The male victim told authorities he was confronted by five individuals at the Palace Casino on Saturday and they demanded he take them to where the female victim could be found. His account of what happened at Wind's residence was similar to the woman's, according to court documents. Sheriff's deputies reported observing injuries consistent with an assault on the victims' bodies.

Jones and White confessed to kidnapping the pair with the assistance of Bellanger and Wind. Court documents state Jones confessed to assisting Bellanger and White in dragging the man into the bathroom where White and Bellanger repeatedly struck him. White confessed to his part in the duct taping and threatening the victims; stating that Bellanger directed and planned the kidnapping and assaults. Wind confessed to being involved in the kidnapping and assaults and agreed to have her home used as the location for the false imprisonment and assaults, according to court documents. She also confessed to participating in the assaults.

Beltrami County Sheriff Phil Hodapp said similar incidents have occurred in the area but not in recent years.

"I don't know that we've ever been able to prove a case as well as we can with this one in the past," Hodapp said. "I'm very proud of the work of our investigators and deputies on this case. They really did a heck of a job here."

Hodapp said the sheriff's office had assistance from Leech Lake Tribal Police on the case, which remains under investigation.


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