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Fulda teen charged with check forgery blames salvia addiction

WORTHINGTON -- A Fulda teen facing check forgery charges after allegedly writing checks on the accounts of both his stepfather and grandmother told law enforcement he was addicted to salvia, a psychoactive plant that causes euphoria.

Joshua James Kindel, 18, was charged Wednesday in Nobles County District Court in two separate case files. One file charges him with two felony check forgery counts, the other with two gross misdemeanors.

The complaints state Kindel's stepfather informed law enforcement Jan. 4 of 12 stolen checks he believed were taken by Kindel.

One of the checks he received back from the bank was written out to Kindel, and the signature on the back matched the signature on file on a Nobles County Jail booking form. Surveillance video from the bank where the check was cashed showed the person cashing the check matched the description of Kindel.

Checks had also been written at area gas station, restaurants and other Worthington businesses. None of the signatures on the checks matched the stepfather's signature. The total of the alleged forged checks was more than $1,000.

On Jan. 26, a woman met with a Nobles County deputy and said she believed her grandson, Kindel, had forged checks on her account. He had stayed at her home, along with other relatives, during the Christmas blizzard. One of the relatives found the woman's checks on the floor and out of order.

When she got her bank statement, she found two checks she had not written. She confronted Kindel, who initially denied the accusation, then allegedly told her "he wasn't thinking right."

The two checks totaled more than $200.

Several days later, a detective investigating the case saw Kindel standing at one of the windows at the Prairie Justice Center and asked if he could speak to him about a case.

Kindel waived his right to remain silent and agreed to give a statement.

He allegedly told the detective he was addicted to salvia, which he said was expensive. The complaint states he admitted to writing some of the checks, but could not remember some of them.

Kindel has previous convictions for theft and marijuana possession, and has juvenile adjudications for marijuana sales and third-degree criminal sexual conduct. He is currently on probation.

Salvia divinorum is not regulated under the federal Controlled Substances Act, but some states have made it illegal to possess or sell. Bills regulating the substance have been proposed in Minnesota, but have not been passed.