US attorney honors 2 state law enforcement agents for contributions in synthetic drug case

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BISMARCK, North Dakota — Two North Dakota law enforcement agents are being recognized for their work in a wide-ranging synthetic drug case that covered five states and resulted in 15 arrests.

The case was dubbed Operation Stolen Youth. The investigation was launched in Grand Forks in 2012 when two teenagers died and three others were hospitalized after ingesting unknown substances.

All but two of the defendants charged in the case have been sentenced.

U.S. Attorney Timothy Purdon will present commendation awards to forensic scientist Charlene Keller of the state crime laboratory and special agent Steve Gilpin.

The ceremony is scheduled Wednesday afternoon at the state attorney general's office in Bismarck.

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