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Self-inflicted shooting sparks Somerset drug investigation

Justin R. Perry

Members of a drug task force executed a search warrant at a Somerset man's home after a man who allegedly bought drugs from him shot himself while high on a rare hallucinogen, according to authorities.

A criminal complaint in the case states police confiscated the victim's cellphone, which turned up a string of texts between him and the suspect, Justin R. Perry. The victim, who survived the shooting, had allegedly requested marijuana extract, LSD, methamphetamine, MDMA and a rare drug known as DMT.

New Richmond Police detective Carlos de la Cruz, who serves on the St. Croix Valley Drug Task Force that executed the warrant, called DMT "super rare," adding that no one else from the unit had seen it before.

Perry, 37, was charged Tuesday, Dec. 11, in St. Croix County Circuit Court with felony possession of cocaine, LSD, marijuana and meth. He was released on a $10,000 signature bond after his initial court appearance later that day before Eau Claire County Circuit Court Judge William Gabler, who was hearing cases in Judge Eric Lundell's absence.

De la Cruz said officers were submitting numerous other unknown substances found at the house to the state crime lab for testing.

According to the complaint:

New Richmond police investigated a self-inflicted gunshot wound Nov. 30 of a man who had told his sister he was "tripping on DMT" before shooting himself. De la Cruz said the man was seriously injured in the shooting and was recovering at Regions Hospital in St. Paul.

The text exchange revealed messages that had gone back and forth between the victim and an unknown number 20 times between May 28 and Nov. 29. Police later determined the phone number belonged to Perry, who they also learned had previous drug-related arrests in Minnesota and Wisconsin.

Task force members went Dec. 10 to Perry's Sunrise Drive home, where he answered the door. Officers reported smelling pot during the encounter. Perry, described as polite, was told officers were at his house as part of a self-inflicted shooting investigation. Perry told an officer he didn't understand how that incident correlated with a search warrant at his house.

A search of the house turned up 1.84 pounds of pot, 1.83 ounces of cocaine, two small sheets of LSD, 3 grams of meth and other unknown powders.

Drug paraphernalia, $4,856 in cash and 13 guns found in a safe were also among items seized by officers.

A preliminary hearing in the case was set for Feb. 27.

Mike Longaecker

Mike Longaecker is a regional/enterprise reporter for RiverTown Multimedia. His coverage includes St. Croix County government, higher education and state politics in Wisconsin. 

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