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Published September 05, 2012, 01:40 PM

Pleas Entered for Four Charged in Synthetic Drug Cases

Four UND students pleaded not guilty yesterday in federal court to conspiracy charges related to the expanding synthetic drug case that prosecutors say involved the deaths of two young men in Grand Forks.

Four UND students pleaded not guilty yesterday in federal court to conspiracy charges related to the expanding synthetic drug case that prosecutors say involved the deaths of two young men in Grand Forks.

Only hours after they were arrested or turned themselves in 23-year-old Casey Rosen and 22-year-old Peter Hoistad along with 22-year-old Allyson DeSantos and Steven Bucher who is in his early 20s all appeared with lawyers in federal court to enter initial pleas. All said they were not guilty The charge they each face carries a maximum penalty of life in prison and a mandatory minimum sentence of 20 years in prison, as well as a fine of up to $1 million.

22-year-old Andrew Spofford of Grand Forks was handed five new charges yesterday as well. Prosecutors say the former UND student cooked forms of ecstasy and what he marketed as "acid." The counts specify that the drugs he allegedly made and sold led to the deaths of 18-year-old Christian Bjerk of Grand Forks and of 17-year-old Elijah Stai of Park Rapids as well as "serious bodily injury" to others. Five other people were hospitalized after ingesting drugs, prosecutors say.

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