A Grand Rapids man could be facing 40 years in prison for selling meth after an investigation by Itasca County Sheriff’s Office seized more than seven ounces of methamphetamine and $20,782 from a property in rural Itasca County.

Larry Earl Zempel, 57, has been charged with felony First Degree Controlled Substance Crime - Sale - a charge which carries a maximum penalty of 40 years in prison and up to a $1 million fine. Zempel made his first appearance in Itasca County District Court on Wednesday. The judge granted the prosecutor’s request for $200,000 bail without conditions or $100,000 with conditions.

According to the criminal complaint, on Jan. 6, Itasca County Sheriff deputies executed a search warrant at a home on Happy Hollow Road in Grand Rapids. Zempel was home at the time along with a female occupant. Zempel was cooperative and opened a locked chest contained in an outside shed. The chest contained miscellaneous food items, tools and containers including prescription pill bottles. There was also a large bag of crystal substance that appeared to be methamphetamine as well as a large amount of cash bundled in the chest.

Zempel provided a Mirandizes statement and said he is a user and seller and has sold controlled substances for the last few years.

The female occupant said she was aware that Zempel sold drugs to approximately five or six different people each week and she said shey typically sells between a .5 gram for $50 and up to an “eight-ball” for $150. She said the Zempel re-ups approximately once a month and gets about six ounces each time. The female stated that she is a methamphetamine user as well and that the methamphetamine inside the residence in a jewelry box belonged to her.

The total amount of methamphetamine obtained from the residence and shed was 216 grams (approximately 7.6 ounces) without packaging. Cash seized totaled $20,782.

A check of Zempel’s records revealed he was convicted of domestic assault and felony fifth-degree controlled substance possession in 2014, as well as felony domestic assault and felony first-degree witness tampering in 2015.


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