Former Grand Portage official gets probation
The former secretary-treasurer of the Grand Portage Band of Chippewa Indians Tribal Council received a three-year probationary sentence Wednesday after apologizing and admitting that he purchased prescription pills from an informant working with ...
The former secretary-treasurer of the Grand Portage Band of Chippewa Indians Tribal Council received a three-year probationary sentence Wednesday after apologizing and admitting that he purchased prescription pills from an informant working with the St. Louis County Sheriff's Office.
Dean Frederick Deschampe Sr., 46, pleaded guilty in St. Louis County District Court last month to felony possession of the painkiller OxyContin, a controlled substance.
Sixth Judicial District Judge Sally Tarnowski on Wednesday accepted a plea agreement reached between Brent Olson, a staff attorney with the Indian Legal Assistance Program, who represented Deschampe, and the St. Louis County Attorney's Office.
Because he has no prior drug offenses, Deschampe qualified for deferred prosecution, in which the court may, in its discretion, dismiss the proceedings against the person without an adjudication of guilt if the person does not violate any of the conditions of probation.
Tarnowski granted Deschampe the deferred prosecution. She sentenced the defendant to three years probation and 60 days of home monitoring, and ordered that he abstain from using alcohol and nonprescribed drugs and that he be subject to random testing.
Deschampe told the court that he had undergone treatment for alcohol abuse at Hazleden Treatment Center and it had a "profound effect on his life."
Deschampe read a statement of apology in court:
"I would like to take this opportunity to sincerely apologize to everybody who has been hurt as a result of my actions,'' he said. "Regardless of the surrounding circumstances, I deeply regret my involvement in this situation. I disappointed my family, the Grand Portage community, and all of the people that I represented as secretary-treasurer of the Grand Portage Tribal Council. I have since resigned from my former position as secretary-treasurer. I have been humbled by this situation, and am filled with remorse. I am working to move forward in a healthy way."
Deschampe's girlfriend, Anita Ellyn Shearer, 38, faces the same charge that he pleaded guilty to. Police said Shearer had the drugs in her hands the day of the bust. She has pleaded not guilty and her case has not been resolved.
In his earlier admission, Deschampe told the court he purchased 10 80-mg OxyContin pills for $700. According to the criminal complaint, an informant told a St. Louis County sheriff's investigator that Deschampe traveled to Duluth about once a week to illegally purchase the drug. Deschampe denied that during an interview outside the courtroom on Wednesday.
On Sept. 9, Deschampe met a police informant at 5:45 p.m. in the vicinity of North Sixth Avenue East and Fifth Street in Duluth.
An investigator said he saw Deschampe hand something to the informant and receive something in return. The informant exited Deschampe's vehicle with $700 that the informant said Deschampe used to purchase
10 OxyContin pills.
A baggie that had contained the 10 pills was found on the floorboard of the driver's side of Deschampe's vehicle.
Outside the courtroom after the sentencing hearing, Deschampe said he no longer used alcohol and that he never used the OxyContin pills that he purchased in Duluth more than once, he said. He was getting the pills for Shearer, he said.
"I shouldn't talk about her too much; we'll get through this together,'' he said. "The most important thing to me is that we get control of the prescription pill problem in Grand Portage.''
Since resigning from the tribal council, Deschampe said he has been looking for work.