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Published September 06, 2012, 02:47 PM

Budge Pleads Guilty, Confesses to Distributing Synthetic Drugs

Adam Budge of East Grand Forks appeared ready to break into sobs as he admitted in federal court in Fargo Wednesday that he stole a lethal hallucinogen from a friend and mixed it with chocolate, then gave it to 17-year-old Eljiah Stai.

Adam Budge of East Grand Forks appeared ready to break into sobs as he admitted in federal court in Fargo Wednesday that he stole a lethal hallucinogen from a friend and mixed it with chocolate, then gave it to 17-year-old Eljiah Stai.

Budge pleaded guilty in a deal with prosecutors to a charge of distributing dangerous synthetic drugs that led to deaths and serious bodily injury. The charge carries a maximum life in prison, and a minimum of 20 years. It also carries a $1 million fine but the plea deal may lead to a lesser sentence.

Budge is one of nine charged so far in a federal case focused on 22-year old Andrew Spofford who pled not guilty in federal court in Fargo to a five-count indictment handed down last week by a federal grand jury. Those counts carry maximum penalties of life in prison with a mandatory minimum penalty of 20 years. A fine of up to $1 million also is possible.

The charges implicate him in the overdose deaths of Stai, 18-year-old Christian Bjerk, and the hospitalization of at least five others in June. Spofford's trial is scheduled for November 16th in federal court in Fargo.

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