Duluth concert promoter pleads guilty to prescription drug charge

A Duluth entertainment and concert promoter accused of using the profiles of two associates to illegally obtain prescription medication over the Internet admitted to the crime Wednesday in St. Louis County District Court.

Craig Samborski
Craig Samborski has been working as an independent contractor to promote the Tall Ships Festival.

A Duluth entertainment and concert promoter accused of using the profiles of two associates to illegally obtain prescription medication over the Internet admitted to the crime Wednesday in St. Louis County District Court.

Craig Christopher Samborski, 45, pleaded guilty to the felony offense of fraudulently procuring a controlled substance. As part of a plea agreement reached with the St. Louis County Attorney's Office, a second charge of possessing a small amount of marijuana will be dismissed.

Samborski, president of Secret Service Entertainment, has no prior criminal record.

Defense attorney Kevin Cornwell told the court that, as a first-time drug offender, his client qualifies for deferred prosecution and probation. That means the court could defer further proceedings and place Samborski on probation without entering a judgment of guilty. The court also could dismiss the proceedings after successful completion of a drug education program and probation.

Judge Mark Munger ordered that an Arrowhead Regional Corrections probation officer conduct an investigation of Samborski's background before sentencing on Jan. 26.


According to the criminal complaint, a special agent for the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension received information that Samborski obtained tablets of Hydrocodone -- a narcotic pain reliever -- through an Internet pharmacy using the profiles of past and present business associates without their consent.

On July 10, officers executed search warrants at Sam-borski's home and business.

Small amounts of marijuana were seized at both locations. An officer met with Samborski and his attorney Aug. 17 at Cornwell's office. Samborski confessed to using his associates' personal information to obtain Hydrocodone.

Samborski admitted in court Wednesday that he used a post office box in Superior to take delivery of the controlled substance.

Other court news

In other hearings Wednesday in St. Louis County District Court in Duluth:

St. Louis County prosecutor Jessica Smith told the court that Sylvan Allen Larson III has a "blatant disregard for the court and the laws of the state.''

Smith made that argument in asking the court to increase Larson's bail after the 19-year-old Duluth man was arraigned on a charge of violating predatory offender registration requirements.


As a predatory offender, Larson is required to inform the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension when he changes his address and to advise the agency of the vehicle he drives. He is accused of failing to do so.

In addition to the new charge, Larson has open cases for three counts of second-degree assault, one count of a controlled substance crime, felony fleeing police in a motor vehicle, fleeing on foot, reckless driving and obstructing legal process with force.

Smith said Larson has failed to appear for scheduled court appearances on six occasions. He is accused of committing some of the crimes while free on $106,000 bond. Smith asked Munger to increase the defendant's bail $100,000 on the latest charge. The court granted the request.

Larson was being held in the St. Louis County Jail. His next court appearance is scheduled for Jan. 13.

Central high school incident

The attorney for a Duluth man accused of trying to run down a Central High School student and a school police resource officer with a sport utility vehicle met with the prosecution outside the courtroom and then asked the court that both sides be given more time to prepare their cases.

Nathan Allen Drift, 25, is charged with attempted second-degree murder and two counts of second-degree assault in the Nov. 18 incident.

Minneapolis defense attorney Gerald Magee said before the hearing that he has obtained a school's videotape of part of the incident. He declined further comment.


Magee told the court that he was preserving his right to challenge the state's evidence at the next hearing scheduled for March 12.

According to the criminal complaint, Drift was upset because his girlfriend's daughter -- a 16-year-old special-needs student -- allegedly was being mistreated by Central students, and he decided to take matters into his own hands.

Drift is free on a $150,000 bail bond.

Marijuana-growing charges

The three public defenders representing a father, son and girlfriend accused of taking part in a marijuana growing operation in West Duluth requested that the prosecution provide the search warrants and supporting documents used in making the bust. The defense attorneys also asked for any video and audio recordings made by law enforcement involving their clients.

James Arthur Lyons Sr., 57, is charged with selling marijuana, possessing a controlled substance and being a felon in possession of a firearm. His son, James II, 29, is charged with selling and possessing marijuana. The son's girlfriend, Melanie Ann Cole, 29, also is charged with selling and possessing marijuana.

According to the criminal complaint, the St. Louis County Sheriff's Office executed a search warrant at the residence at 226 S. 56th Ave. W. on Nov. 24. The elder Lyons was at the home. In addition to 204 marijuana plants, investigators found 14 firearms, drug paraphernalia, drug-packaging materials, scales to weigh controlled substances, growing equipment and supplies.

The defendants are scheduled to next appear in court on Jan. 20.

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