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Opium meth and firearms recovered in traffic stop

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Crosslake police arrested three men in a traffic stop near West Shore Drive and Robert Street around 4:30 p.m. Saturday, March 9, recovering methamphetamines, opium, marijuana paraphernalia and a loaded handgun possessed by a felon.

Douglas Bert Melby Jr., 53, Pequot Lakes, and Benjamin Joseph Buchite, 23, Delano, were both charged with crimes.

The criminal complaint filed in Crow Wing County District Court for Melby states that Crosslake Sgt. Erik Lee pulled over Melby, who was seen driving and known to have his driving privileges cancelled inimical to public safety.

Melby was searched and Crosslake officer Jake Maier recovered an eyeglass case containing numerous drug paraphernalia used for smoking and injecting methamphetamine, the complaint said. Maier also found a baggie on Melby’s person with 4.6 grams of methamphetamine, the complaint stated.

Officers found a black duffel bag in the back seat, which they knew to belong to Melby from a previous arrest, containing a loaded .45 caliber handgun. Melby was convicted in Crow Wing County of felony fifth-degree controlled substance crime in 2005 and 2013. He also has a prior conviction of felon in possession of a firearm in 2005.

The criminal complaint for Buchite, who was in the car with Melby, states that Maier searched Buchite and found a bag containing a powder that Buchite said was opium. A field test showed the powder tested positive for opiates, a schedule II controlled substance, the complaint said.

Buchite had also given officers a pipe that tested positive for marijuana.

Charges against Melby include felony third-degree possession of 3 grams or more cocaine/heroin/methamphetamine, felony possession pistol/assault weapon-conviction or adjudicated delinquent for crime of violence, and gross misdemeanor traffic-driving after cancellation inimical to public safety.

Charges against Buchite include felony fifth-degree possession of drugs and petty misdemeanor possession of drug paraphernalia.

Crow Wing County did not have charges filed against the third man in the vehicle, who was arrested with Melby and Buchite.