Drug chemist pleads guilty to possessing hallucinogen; related to teen death


The final thread from the drug death of a Woodbury teenager pulled in a guilty plea for a Brooklyn Park man who was known to manufacture the hallucinogen, Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman announced Wednesday.

John Moltzen, 37, pleaded guilty to a single count of possession with intent to sell 25i-NBOMe on Monday. He will be sentenced Nov. 18 and is expected to be sentenced to 93 months in prison.

The drug is a highly potent psychedelic similar to LSD. On Jan. 11, 2014, Tara Fitzgerald, then a 17-year-old Woodbury High School student, died after taking a poisoned dose of 25i-NBOMe she bought from a classmate. The investigation into Fitzgerald’s death led to criminal charges against three juveniles and two young adults.

The investigation also led police to a drug operation in Hennepin County. A cooperating suspect said that Dominic Beltrante, 42, was selling 25i-NBOMe. In August 2014, the informant was sent by police to Beltrante’s apartment at 2611 Dupont Ave. N in Minneapolis to buy 300 doses of the drug, according to the criminal complaint. Beltrante tried to reach Moltzen, but was not immediately successful.

Instead, Beltrante told the informant that Jacob Granger, 38, would pick up the drugs from Moltzen’s house. Undercover agents were doing surveillance on Beltrante’s apartment and also sat outside Moltzen’s house and saw Granger arrive and leave with a speaker box and blotter paper containing the drug, which he hid in the box, the complaint states.

Granger drove to Beltrante’s house with the box and the drug transaction occurred. Later that day, police executed search warrants at Beltrante’s and Moltzen’s homes. Beltrante had a small marijuana growing operation in his apartment as well as several guns. Moltzen was the chemist who was making the 25i-NBOMe and police recovered chemicals and materials necessary for creating the drug, as well as about 200 doses of 25i-NBOMe, according to the complaint.

Moltzen did not say much in his court hearing Monday beyond admitting the facts of the case against him. When he was first interviewed by police, he said he was involved with LSD and has “always taken an interest in psychedelic culture,” according to the complaint.

Charges also were filed against Beltrante and Granger last year and they are expected to plead guilty to drug charges in the coming weeks.

Criminal Complaint (PDF)