by April Scheinoha
The supplier pled guilty Monday, June 25 to his role in the February overdose death of a Thief River Falls man.
Robert Louis Bellanger-Fohrenkam, 35, Bemidji, pled guilty to a felony charge of first degree controlled substance crime, according to online court records. Sentencing has been scheduled for Monday, Aug. 20.
Bellanger-Fohrenkam had also initially been charged with third degree murder in the overdose death of Samuel DeJesus Cabrales, 23, Thief River Falls. That charge is expected to be dismissed at sentencing.
Another co-defendant, 23-year-old Nathan Charles Mock of Thief River Falls, is expected to be sentenced for felony third degree controlled substance crime Monday, Aug. 13.
The cases continue against two other co-defendants. Nicole Lee Baker, 30, Thief River Falls, is set to appear in court again Monday, Aug. 6 on charges of felony offenses of third degree murder, third degree controlled substance crime (two counts) and fifth degree controlled substance crime. Aaron Daniel Zimmerman, 40, Thief River Falls, is set to appear again in court Monday, July 9 on felony offenses of third degree murder and third degree controlled substance crime.
The charges stemmed from a 911 call Feb. 8, according to the complaint. Cabrales’ fiancee believed he had overdosed on heroin at their home. Police and an ambulance crew attempted to revive Cabrales, but he died at the scene.
While investigating, police allegedly found a hypodermic needle near Cabrales. They also found a gram-type plastic bag containing a residue believed to be a mixture containing heroin. Later, a test showed the presence of a type of fentanyl.
Besides the hypodermic needle and bag, a Pine to Prairie Task Force member collected a small amount of powder from a bathroom countertop.
Police linked the suspects to Cabrales’ death through cell phone records. A man also contacted investigators, saying that he learned Zimmerman had sold Cabrales the heroin.
Bellanger-Fohrenkam supplied the heroin mixture to Baker. Baker then allegedly gave the mixture to Mock a night before Cabrales’ death. He then gave the heroin mixture to Zimmerman, who provided an electronic tablet as collateral. Zimmerman allegedly sold the heroin mixture to Cabrales for $50. Zimmerman then gave the $50 to Mock, who returned Zimmerman’s electronic tablet. Mock then brought the money to Baker’s home.
A search warrant found Walmart money transfers in Baker’s home. The money transfers listed her name and Bellanger-Fohrenkam’s name.
The police investigator downloaded information from Cabrales’ cell phone and reviewed Facebook messages between Cabrales and Zimmerman. At the time, Zimmerman was on probation for a controlled substance crime. The messages dated back to Feb. 5 with the purchase occurring two days later.
Police also seized Zimmerman’s cell phone, which allegedly contained numerous messages between Zimmerman and others talking about drugs and drug transactions.
When he learned Cabrales had possibly died from a drug overdose, Zimmerman said Cabrales had sought heroin from him. He allegedly said he facilitated the sale of the heroin mixture between Cabrales and Mock.
Mock told police that he went to Baker’s home Feb. 7. He said they used meth and she asked whether he knew anyone who wanted to buy heroin. Mock said she possessed suspected heroin. He contacted others, eventually communicating with Zimmerman. He then delivered the heroin substance to Zimmerman, believing Zimmerman was selling it to someone else. Zimmerman gave him an electronic tablet as collateral until he could sell the heroin mixture and receive payment. Later, Zimmerman gave $50 to Mock for the substance. Police corroborated Mock’s statement through messages between the two men. Baker also corroborated the statement. An electronic tablet had earlier been seized at Zimmerman’s home.
Law enforcement soon conducted a search warrant at Baker’s home, 623 Horace Ave. N. Inside a safe, they found 4.9 grams of suspected meth and 4 grams of suspected heroin. The latter substance tested positive for fentanyl and was similar to the substance found at Cabrales’ home. The safe also contained Walmart receipts for money transfers totalling $3,450. The transfers listed Baker’s name and Bellanger-Fohrenkam’s name.
Baker told police that she, Mock and another man went to Bemidji on the morning of Wednesday, Feb. 7. She allegedly said she obtained meth and heroin. Baker said she used some of the heroin and Mock tried to sell some of the heroin to his friends.
Upon learning someone had possibly died from the heroin she was selling, Baker became “extremely emotional.” She said she knew it was a strong substance, saying she had done a “dusting” of heroin that same morning and awoke to three friends reviving her.
Baker later worked with authorities to purchase drugs from her supplier, Bellanger-Fohrenkam. He sold 18.3 grams of meth to her for $1,100 during one transaction after Cabrales’ death.
Bellanger-Fohrenkam was arrested Feb. 12 after selling meth to Baker a second time while law enforcement performed surveillance. During that sale, Baker provided Bellanger-Fohrenkam with $500 in drug-buy money. He told Baker that he would use that money to purchase heroin. Bellanger-Fohrenkam instructed Baker to wire him money for the meth, which weighed about three grams.
During the sale, they also discussed the heroin mixture. Law enforcement recorded the exchange and heard him tell Baker how to make the heroin mixture less potent and how to test it.
In an interview with police, Bellanger-Fohrenkam admitted selling meth and heroin to Baker a day before Cabrales died from the overdose, according to the complaint. He expressed remorse for Cabrales’ death.
The complaint indicated that Bellanger-Fohrenkam was previously convicted of possession of a controlled substance with intent to distribute in Wisconsin. He had also been previously convicted of third degree controlled substance crime in Minnesota.