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Woman appears on drug charges for large amount of marijuana, child neglect

WILLMAR — Ashley Jean Swanson, 22, of Willmar, made her first court appearance Wednesday on felony charges of fifth-degree drug sale and possession, plus a gross misdemeanor charge of child neglect and a petty misdemeanor for possession of drug paraphernalia, for 1.9 pounds of marijuana and drug-related items found in her residence when police searched the home in December.

Unconditional bail was set at $10,000. Her next appearance is March 18 in Kandiyohi County District Court.

Swanson and Nicholas Michael Hurlbut-Voight, 24, of Willmar, are charged in the case. Hurlbut-Voight pleaded guilty last week to a fifth-degree drug sale charge. He will be sentenced April 4.

According to the complaint, on Dec. 21, Willmar police officers went to an apartment along the 2400 block of Fifth Street Southeast in an attempt to arrest Hurlbut-Voight on an outstanding warrant for selling marijuana. Hurlbut-Voight met the officers at the door. He told the officers that there was no marijuana on his person or in the apartment, but the officers reported an overwhelming smell of marijuana coming from the apartment. Hurlbut-Voight was arrested and taken to the county jail.

Swanson was also at the apartment, which was leased in her name, and said there was a young child sleeping in the residence. She gave consent for officers to search the apartment and initially said she did not know what was in the residence.

Officers found a total of 864 grams of marijuana, 8 grams of hashish, multiple pieces of drug paraphernalia, digital scales and more than $1,200 in cash in the apartment. The marijuana was located in multiple bags, in a safe in a bedroom closet and on the top of a bedroom dresser.

Swanson allegedly admitted later to officers that she knew there was marijuana in the apartment, that she believed there was a large amount of marijuana in the safe, that she wanted to call law enforcement but did not do so and that she suspected Hurlbut-Voight was dealing drugs.

She also allegedly admitted to smoking marijuana to help her sleep, using the drug outside of the apartment. She said Hurlbut-Voight had showed her how to make hashish and had told her he had suspected someone had “worn a wire” or cooperated with police during a recent drug sale.

Gretchen Schlosser

Gretchen Schlosser is the public safety reporter, and writes about agriculture occasionally, for the West Central Tribune. She's been with the Tribune since 2006 and has 17 years of experience working in news, media and communications. 

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