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Swindle, credit card fraud cases lead to drug arrests in small north-central Minnesota town

Denise Waldvogel1 / 3
Curtis Waldvogel2 / 3
Tammy Popoe3 / 3

An investigation into credit card fraud and embezzlement from a creamery association in the north-central Minnesota town of Osakis has led to felony drug charges with three people charged in the cases.

Denise Carol Waldvogel, 47, of Osakis was charged late last year with felony theft by swindle for taking an estimated $42,300 from the Osakis Creamery Association. Her husband, Curtis Dale Waldvogel, 45, was charged with felony credit card fraud on March 1 and two drug-related counts on Feb. 1 — third-degree possession of meth and fifth-degree possession of marijuana.

A 42-year-old Frazee woman, Tammy Lynn Popoe, who was living at the Waldvogels' residence in Osakis, was charged late last year with possessing nearly 1.8 ounces, of meth, a first-degree felony.

During the swindle investigation, Osakis police learned that Curtis Waldvogel allegedly used one of the creamery's Menards credit cards over a two-year period, beginning in August of 2014, to purchase items without permission. In all, Waldvogel is accused of making 33 unauthorized transactions at Menards totaling $6,334.96.

On Dec. 15, 2016, the Osakis Police Department issued a search warrant at the Waldvogels' house to seize any illegally obtained merchandise.

An officer met Popoe in an upstairs hallway and later found a meth pipe containing burned residue on a nightstand in an upstairs bedroom. After a dispatcher informed officers that an active warrant had been issued for Popoe, she was taken into custody.

After resuming the search, Osakis Police Chief Chad Gulbranson saw Curtis Waldvogel loading a gun case and a small cooler into the back of a pickup truck. When asked to open them up, Waldvogel was reluctant to open the cooler and repeatedly said there was nothing in it, according to the complaint.

He eventually opened the cooler and Gulbranson found four vacuum-packed bags believed to contain about 466 grams, or about a pound, of marijuana.

Based on the discovery of drugs, police obtained a second search warrant to look for controlled substances and found more marijuana and meth belonging to Curtis Waldvogel and Popoe.

Curtis Waldvogel is scheduled to appear in Douglas County District Court on March 13. An omnibus hearing for Denise Waldvogel is scheduled for March 31. Both Waldvogels were released from jail after posting bail.

An omnibus hearing for Popoe is scheduled for March 23. She remains in custody at the Douglas County Jail.

Al Edenloff
Al Edenloff is the news and opinion page editor for the Echo Press. He was born in Alexandria and lived most of his childhood in Parkers Prairie. He graduated with honors from Moorhead State University with a degree in mass communications, print journalism. He interned at the Echo Press in the summer of 1983 and was hired a year later as a sports reporter. He also worked as a news reporter/photographer. Al is a four-time winner of the Minnesota Newspaper Association's Herman Roe Award, which honors excellence in editorial writing.  
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