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Man pleads guilty to drug charge

WORTHINGTON -- Michael Gruhlke, 54, pleaded guilty to a drug-related felony and a misdemeanor charge Monday afternoon in Nobles County District Court.

WORTHINGTON -- Michael Gruhlke, 54, pleaded guilty to a drug-related felony and a misdemeanor charge Monday afternoon in Nobles County District Court.

Gruhlke was charged with fifth-degree possession of methamphetamine, a gross misdemeanor charge of driving after cancellation-inimical to public safety and a misdemeanor charge of fourth-degree driving while intoxicated.

He pleaded guilty to both the fifth-degree drug possession and DWI charges. If the judge accepts the plea agreement, he will face 120 days in jail, five years of supervised probation and a total bond of $7,000, in addition to the $3,000 initial bond. The gross misdemeanor charge will be dismissed.

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According to court records, the Worthington Police Department received a call around midnight in early July reporting a vehicle swerving from side to side with inconsistent speed. After a WPD officer spotted a Chevrolet matching the description of the suspect on Fifth Avenue, he proceeded to stop the vehicle.

The driver, identified as Gruhlke, failed to give his driver license to the officer. Gruhlke claimed his poor driving was due to the spare tire on the rear driver’s side. When the officer ran Gruhlke’s information, he saw that his driver's license has been cancelled.

Gruhlke tested negative on the preliminary breath test and denied he had consumed drugs. He was then transported to Nobles County Jail.

When police officers conducted a vehicle inventory search, they found a small black case that contained a syringe, a spoon with a white powdery substance and a white rock-like substance in the bottom of the case. The powder found on the spoon tested positive for methamphetamine.

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The next day, a blood sample taken from Gruhlke revealed he had methamphetamine in his system. He admitted to have ingested part of the white rock-like substance, which was identified as methamphetamine, before the police officer stopped him.

Gruhlke has a previous history of drug-related charges in 2004. He had two prior controlled substance convictions in April and May of that year in Cottonwood County.

The maximum sentence for a fifth-degree drug possession is no less than six months and nor more than 10 years jail time, along with a fine of no more than $20,000. The driving after cancellation has a maximum sentence of one year on jail, a $3,000 fine or both. His last charge carries a maximum sentence of 90 days in jail, $1,000 fine or both.


The judge is waiting for the pre-sentence investigation report before making a final decision on the case.

Related Topics: CRIME
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