WORTHINGTON — A Worthington man has been charged with three felonies after allegedly making a child inhale methamphetamine in his presence.
Slade James Kruse, 35, is charged with storing chemical substances in the presence of a child, causing or permitting a child to ingest, inhale and be exposed to methamphetamine and child endangerment by permitting the sale or possession of a controlled substance. Charges also include fifth degree drug possession, a gross misdemeanor.
Kruse was arrested following an Aug. 28 incident at his home.
According to the criminal complaint, a child was discovered wandering around in pajamas on a Worthington street shortly after 3 a.m. Aug. 28. The child was taken to Sanford Worthington Hospital’s emergency room, where law enforcement officers learned from the child that Kruse allegedly forced the child to do drugs by smoking something brown from a pipe after it was burned by a torch.
Based on the child’s demeanor, officers believed the child was under the influence of a stimulant.
The child also stated that a few days prior, Kruse forced them to lick something that looked like salt and then smoke it from a light bulb, according to the criminal complaint.
When law enforcement showed up at the Slade home, he reportedly said the child was sleeping in the basement. They advised him to go look, and when he returned to the driveway, he said the child was missing.
During a subsequent search of the home, officers observed a makeshift bedroom in the basement where the child allegedly slept. Reported to be in the room were dog feces and urine on the floor near a dirty box spring. Rotten food, garbage and cigarette butts were also seen on the floor, and an “extremely pungent odor of mold, rotten food, dog feces and urine” was noted in the report.
Also discovered in the house were several capped and uncapped hypodermic needles, several plastic baggies that appeared to contain methamphetamine residue, a glass meth pipe and a pen tube with meth residue. The pen tube, plastic baggies and homemade glass pipe later field-tested positive for methamphetamine, according to the complaint.
Kruse allegedly told law enforcement that the child may test positive for marijuana but not meth, and denied forcing the child to smoke any drugs.
Kruse faces a maximum five years in prison and/or $10,000 fine on each of the three felony counts; and one year in jail and or a $3,000 fine on the fifth-degree drug possession charge.
Kruse remains in the Nobles County Jail. He is scheduled to appear in court on Sept. 9.