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Police make marijuana bust at Cloquet boxing gym

Drew Landon Angell

A home-based boxing gym in Cloquet was also the site of a felony drug arrest on Sunday.

Drew Landon Angell, 21, faces three felony counts of possession and sale of drugs — including a fourth-degree felony for marijuana sales charge that could mean 15 years in prison and a $100,000 fine for a first offense. Authorities found nearly 2 pounds of the drug packaged for sale in the home.

"Based on the investigation, it is believed the sales of these drugs included high-school-aged people in our community," said the Cloquet Police Department in a Tuesday news release about the arrest.

The police executed a search warrant over the weekend after an undercover investigation last month uncovered a drug operation in the bedroom of the home which shares an address with a boxing gym in a garage on the property at 513 N. Cloquet Road — less than a mile off Minnesota Highway 33.

During their search, police found and detained Angell and, initially, five others, in addition to discovering a large amount of marijuana and packaging materials used to traffic the drug.

"There was a juvenile, and they were all young adults — some still attending high school," said Det. Sgt. Scott Holman, who led the investigation and arrest. "We'd received a lot complaints about (Angell) — high-school-age kids at the house, him getting to high-school-age students."

Another person was arrested during the search of the home based on a warrant for separate charges, Holman said. No additional charges were brought against the other people who were with Angell in the house, in part, because nobody was talking.

"My assumption is they were using; there was a heavy wave of marijuana smoke in the air, but no one admitted it," Holman said.

Holman said police "got within a few feet of the house and could smell a strong odor of marijuana."

According to the criminal complaint against Angell filed in State District Court in Carlton, and an interview with the lead detective, Holman, police pulled more than 1.7 pounds of marijuana from Angell's downstairs bedroom. Additionally, police found 17 separately packaged containers of hash oil, and a small amount (2 grams) of cocaine.

Angell was charged Tuesday with fourth-degree sale of marijuana and two fifth-degree counts of possession of marijuana and cocaine, respectively.

Angell declined to be interviewed by police, said the criminal complaint, and has acquired a lawyer, said Holman.

The homeowner, Phil Angell, is also the father of Drew Angell, Holman said.

"He claimed that he knew his kid smoked marijuana but that he didn't know that it was to sell," Holman said of the police interview with Phil Angell.

Phil Angell is the owner of Warriors of the North Boxing, which operates out of a separate garage also on the property and where Angell trains a mixture of both youth and adult boxers. Phil Angell told the News Tribune in a text message that he will continue to operate the gym, saying the boxers are "working hard," in preparation of fights scheduled for Saturday.

"Drew trusts the legal process and we go from there," Phil Angell said in the text message.

In September, the News Tribune featured the boxing gym in a story focusing on how Phil Angell operates the gym for free and specializes in teaching hand skills to the adults who fight professionally.

Police said there was no apparent connection between the drug sales and the boxing operation.

"No, there wasn't at all," said Holman, who added the police "don't have the authority to" close down the gym even as it is now associated with a drug operation.

The boxing feature story reported that Drew Angell had been an accomplished youth boxer under his father's coaching. Drew Angel did not take part in the reporting of the story.

According to the criminal complaint, detectives with the Cloquet police had been involved in an undercover investigation of Drew Angell throughout November, "corroborating information from two different individuals confirming that (Drew Angell) was, in fact, selling marijuana out of his residence."

The police acted on Drew Angell and the house after Holman and other officers "put together the information that they had obtained and learned that ... (Angell) would be in possession of a large amount of marijuana."

Drew Angell has a history of petty misdemeanor drug convictions across multiple Minnesota counties dating back to 2015. A pre-trial release agreement said Drew Angell is required to stay away from Cloquet High School by a radius of three blocks. He is scheduled to appear again in District Court on Jan. 3.

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