Written by John Plestina
A Michigan couple, accused of attempting to obtain narcotics by deception, entered not guilty pleas in 15th District Court Wednesday, Aug. 13.
Jesse Gottschalk and Shelby Rider, both 22, and both of Algonac, Mich., are alleged to have attempted to obtain drugs from Roosevelt Medical Center in Culbertson by making false claims.
Both are charged with felony possession of dangerous drugs, attempting to fraudulently obtain dangerous drugs and possession of drug paraphernalia.
Both are scheduled for trials Nov. 13.
Defense attorneys Mark Epperson, representing Rider, and Mary Louise Zemyan, resenting Gottschalk, requested bail reductions from $50,000 to $10,000. Assistant county attorney Jordan Knudsen opposed the reductions. Judge David Cybulski reduced bond to $20,000 for each. They also must waive extradition if freed on bond.
Epperson said Rider’s father recently bought a home in North Dakota and that she could live with him while awaiting trial.
According to information provided by the Roosevelt County Sheriff’s Office, Rider’s father is alleged to have provided and sold illegal prescription drugs to his daughter and Gottschalk.
The RCSO reported Monday, Aug. 18, that Rider was free on bond.
The RCSO provided The Herald-News with a written report by Deputy Patrick O’Connor, the arresting officer.
An RMC staff member had reported suspicious behavior by Gottschalk and Rider and requested law enforcement on June 25 at about 5:30 p.m.
O’Connor wrote that a hospital employee told him Rider was claiming abdominal pain and wanted to be prescribed Percocet, the brand name for a pain medication containing oxycodone, which is classified as a schedule II dangerous drug.
“When Rider was told she needed to provide a urine sample, she covertly gave the specimen cup to Gottschalk, who took it into the bathroom and filled it with his own urine,” O’Connor wrote.
A hospital staff member observed Gottschalk with the specimen cup and took it from him.
O’Connor stated in his narrative that Gottschalk attempted to leave the hospital when he saw the deputy approach him. O’Connor handcuffed Gottschalk outside the emergency room entrance and informed him of his rights.
“Gottschalk admitted to urinating in Rider’s specimen cup and told me he did so because Rider was unable to provide a sample herself for some reason,” O’Connor wrote.
Rider was arrested shortly after on the hospital grounds.
O’Connor further wrote in his report that an RN told him the pair were behaving suspiciously “and he felt Rider was attempting to fraudulently obtain Percocet and Phenergan” [the brand name for promethazine, a non-controlled drug used to treat anxiety]. The nurse told O’Connor that Rider had complained of abdominal pain and specifically requested those drugs.
The sheriff’s report further alleges that that Rider attempted to obtain the same medications from a hospital in Crosby, N.D., a few weeks prior, also claiming abdominal pain. At that time she checked in using the name Melissa Gottschalk.
“When I asked Rider about the visit to the Crosby hospital, she admitted providing them with a false name and said she did so to avoid paying the hospital bill,” O’Connor wrote.
Rider gave O’Connor permission to look inside her purse, which was inside Gottschalk’s pickup.
“I discovered a pink plastic pen tube with white powdery residue on the inside. The residue was field tested later and indicated positive as oxycodone, the active ingredient in Percocet. Rider told me she used the pen to snort a crushed-up Percocet,” O’Connor wrote in his report.
Rider told O’Connor she has an addiction to Percocet and frequently abuses other prescription drugs, including Xanax.
“Rider said she’s been abusing prescription pills since her father began providing them to her when she was about 17 years old,” O’Connor wrote.
Gottschalk gave O’Connor permission to retrieve pills, which were wrapped in a cellophane wrapper from a cigarette pack, from the driver’s door pocket in his truck.
Later, at the sheriff’s office in Wolf Point, Gottschalk admitted to an addiction to Xanax and said he bought 10 Xanax pills from Rider’s father on June 24, according to the sheriff’s narrative.
The narrative also stated that Rider acknowledged that her father sold the pills to Gottschalk.