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Police want to keep suspected drug money found in room of dead North Hudson man

A petition was filed recently in St. Croix County Circuit Court asking that $4,400 found in the bedroom of a young man who died at home be forfeited to the North Hudson Police Department.

According to the complaint, the money had been in the possession of Eric Michael Swanby, 420 Sommers Landing Road No., North Hudson. The Police Department has custody of the cash now.

According to the petition filed by a St. Croix County assistant district attorney, on June 29 law enforcement officers seized the cash “based on probable cause to believe it was associated with the commission of the crime of possession with intent to deliver marijuana … and possession with intent to deliver narcotic and non-narcotic substances…”

According to the report, shortly before 8 a.m. June 29 Sgt. Jeff Kennett of the St. Croix Sheriff’s Department advised North Hudson Police Chief Mark Richert that Swanby, 21, had died at his home after life-saving efforts failed. Kennett also reported that there was a large amount of marijuana, along with cash, a scale and packaging material in the room with the deceased.

An autopsy was conducted, but at this time toxicology results haven’t been reported and there is no reported cause of death, says the petition.

That same morning, after receiving permission from Swanby’s father, officers searched Eric’s bedroom and found a safe with $4,400 in four bundles of $1,000 each and one bundle of $400. They also found 15.75 grams of marijuana in a container on top of a shelf on the wall and a digital scale and a paper bag holding small baggies.

The petition says the officers found a black cellphone in Swanby’s pants pocket and eight other phones throughout the room. Investigators “located many text message exchanges that appeared to be arranging the sale of drugs by Eric Swanby to various other persons,” says the complaint.

The texts referenced “chillaxers,” ordering a “QP” (quarter pound), “o’s” (ounces), “val’s” (valium) and “5 or 10s” (believed to refer to milligrams of pills).

Also, says the complaint, officers found these and other texts: “i’ll take the rest of those val too,” “ok i’m not letting the vals go for less than 5” and “i have 44 left that equals 220.”

Many of the texts involved arranging times or places to meet, and prices and amounts were discussed, says the petition, which asks the court to order that the $4,400 be forfeited.