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Alleged drug dealer facing murder charge; HPD has 22 drug cases pending

The man suspected of supplying the heroin that killed Alex Solberg of Hudson last December has been charged with first degree reckless homicide in St. Croix County Court.

According to the criminal complaint, Samuel James Taylor, 26, address unknown, had been Solberg’s dealer for some time. The information about Taylor came from a confidential informant who first contacted Solberg’s mother and then talked to Hudson police. He told police that he had talked with Taylor shortly after Solberg’s overdose and that Taylor said, “I sold the drugs that killed Alex.”

Police checked Solberg’s phone records as well as those of the informant and traced calls to a phone listed to Taylor. Records indicate that there were several conversations from Solberg to the number listed to Taylor on Nov. 30, three days before Solberg’s death.

The informant also identified Taylor from a photograph as the person he knew to be Solberg’s dealer.

Solberg was a 2009 graduate of Hudson High School. His body was found at a room in the Royal Inn on Dec. 3, 2012. Heroin residue, prescription drug bottles and drug paraphernalia were found in the room with him. The Ramsey County medical examiner’s office listed his cause of death as acute heroin toxicity.

Taylor is currently on probation in Minnesota in connection with felony drug charges in two counties.

According to Hudson police, Taylor is in custody in Wright County, Minn. and will be extradited to St. Croix County to face the charge.

22 drug cases pending

HPD Det. Sgt. Geoff Willems said the Solberg investigation involved more than 158 hours of work to get to the arrest. The confidential informant was critical in that investigation. He said there are two other deadly overdose cases in Hudson investigators are working on -- that of Alyssa Ivy, 21,  and Daniel Hennessy, 55,  in May. Willems estimates that more than 200 hours have already been spent on the Ivy case.

The department has an additional 22 felony drug cases where the investigations have yet to be started due to lack of manpower. “We simply lack the time and the resources to work these cases,” said Willems. He says there are currently 30 cases that are on the “back burner” while he and Det. Pete Schultz are actively working on 11 other investigations.

Willlems said the drug investigations are more time consuming because they often require work across jurisdictions and state borders. The interview with Sam Taylor took at least six hours when the three-hour round trip to talk with him in Wright County Minnesota is factored in.

Willems said their workload increased with the recent home invasions in the city using garage door openers from unlocked cars. He noted that they have identified suspects in the burglaries primarily in the Twin Cities, conducted some interviews and issued some warrants, He said they are working to link the suspects to the fraudulent use of credit cards and cell phones taken in the break-ins.

Anyone with information about the drug overdoses of Ivy and Hennessy or to any illegal drug activity or the recent burglaries in Hudson  is asked to contact Willems at (715) 386-4771.

Meg Heaton

Meg Heaton has been a reporter with the Hudson Star Observer since 1990. She has a bachelor’s degree in anthropology and Native American Studies from the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire.

(715) 808-8604