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On 07/12/2020 at approximately 2:10 am, an officer made contact with the driver of a vehicle in the 200 block of 1st Street SW after observing the vehicle being operated recklessly in the residential area. Upon making contact, the driver fled in the vehicle at a high rate of speed. A South Dakota Highway Patrol Trooper was arriving on scene to assist and initiated a pursuit with the vehicle. The vehicle was found west of 4th Street SW and 2nd Avenue SW after being crashed. The occupants had fled from the vehicle on foot. A passenger, Elizabeth Meza (28 years old) from St. Paul, MN, was detained on scene but officers were unable to locate the driver.
The vehicle had been reported stolen in Minnesota. A search of the vehicle was conducted which revealed approximately one ounce of methamphetamine, a small amount of marijuana, controlled prescription pills, and paraphernalia. Elizabeth was charged with distribution of a controlled substance, possession of a controlled substance, possession of marijuana less than two ounces, and possession of drug paraphernalia.
Through further investigation, the driver was identified as Richard Balsimo (33 years old) from St. Paul, MN. At approximately 8:00 pm on 07/12/2020, Officers from the Watertown Police Department, South Dakota Highway Patrol, and the Codington County Sheriff’s Office searched a residence in the 1000 block of 8th Street NW where Richard was located and taken into custody without incident. Richard was charged with distribution of a controlled substance, possession of a controlled substance, possession of marijuana less than two ounces, possession of drug paraphernalia, possession of a stolen vehicle, aggravated eluding, failure to report accident immediately, and other traffic violations.
A search of the residence where Richard was located revealed approximately a half-pound of marijuana, methamphetamine, and paraphernalia. Travis Storbakken (27 years old) from Watertown, SD was arrested and charged with possession of marijuana half pound to less than a pound, possession of a controlled substance, possession with intent to distribute marijuana, and possession of drug paraphernalia. Katie Barnes (25 years old) from Watertown, SD was arrested and charged with possession of a controlled substance, ingesting a controlled substance, and possession of drug paraphernalia.