Apr 30, 2021 | By: Betsy Melin

Two Arrested After Over 20 Grams of Fentanyl Found in Bemidji Hotel Search

Derek Paddy

A man and a woman are facing drug trafficking charges after being arrested during a search of a Bemidji hotel. A months-long investigation by the Paul Bunyan Drug Task Force and the Headwaters Task Force has resulted in charges of Felony Sale of 10 Grams or More of Fentanyl for both 25-year-old Derek Paddy, of Bemidji, and 26-year-old Wendi Fairbanks, of Red Lake.

Approximately 22 grams of fentanyl and nearly $4,500 were seized as a result of the search.

According to a criminal complaint, members of the Paul Bunyan Task Force, Headwaters Task Force, and the FBI have been conducting an investigation on Paddy and Fairbanks for the last several months after receiving information they had been trafficking heroin and fentanyl to the Bemidji area. They had been reported as staying in hotels while in Bemidji. Paddy has had an active Federal Warrant for the last few months for 2nd Degree Aggravated Robbery.

On April 27, a US Marshall contacted the Paul Bunyan Drug Task Force that they had found that Paddy was staying in the area of the Hampton Inn in Bemidji. Task Force and FBI agents then began surveillance on the Hampton Inn on that date. On the early morning of April 28, a car associated with Paddy was located in the parking lot.

A female matching the description of Wendi Fairbanks was observed leaving a room in the hotel to retrieve a luggage cart, where she then returned to the room. A few minutes later, Paddy was seen pushing the cart towards the elevators. FBI agents arrested Paddy prior to him getting to the elevators for his outstanding warrant. They searched Paddy and found a small metal container with a clear plastic baggie inside containing a white powdery substance suspected as being fentanyl, and a hypodermic needle with several pieces of aluminum foil with a burnt substance were found in his pockets.

Wendi Fairbanks

The white powder in the metal container was later weighed and was approximately 2 grams on a non-certified scale, and it field-tested positive for fentanyl.

Fairbanks exited the room when Paddy was arrested and was detained while agents sought a search warrant on the room. The cart that Paddy was pushing at the time of his arrest was also brought into the room. A search warrant was drafted for Fairbanks, their room at the Hampton Inn, and the bags and luggage in the room as well as their vehicle.

Approximately 22 total grams of a white powder that field-tested positive for fentanyl were located. Approximately 10 grams of purported fentanyl were located in a makeup bag on the room’s television stand, and additional 10.4 grams were located in a plastic bag on the cart that Paddy was pushing at the time of his arrest. $4,456.00 was seized, $3,816 of which was in a backpack, and an additional $640 was located in another small personal bag. Numerous items of drug paraphernalia were located in the hotel room, in the luggage and bags as well as the vehicle, including packaging material for controlled substances and multiple digital scales for weighing controlled substances, along with devices to ingest controlled substances.

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