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A third suspect who may be connected to last week’s drug-related homicide was arrested Tuesday by Kalispell Police.
Cody Allen Naldrett, 27, of Kalispell, was taken into custody on charges of criminal possession of dangerous drugs (a felony) and criminal possession of drug paraphernalia and criminal contempt, both misdemeanors.
Jeffrey Nixon, 19 and Robert Lake, 21 both of Kalispell, also have been arrested as suspects in the beating death of Wesley Collins, 49. Collins’ body was discovered April 17 by Kalispell Police in a remote wooded area southwest of Kalispell.
Police believe the crime was drug-related.
Nixon is being held on charges of deliberate homicide, robbery, and tampering with or fabricating physical evidence and theft.
Lake is being held on charges of deliberate homicide, intimidation, kidnapping, robbery, theft and tampering with or fabricating physical evidence.
None of the three have been formally charged by the Flathead County Attorney’s Office. They are in custody at the Flathead County Detention Center.
Justice of the Peace David Ortley determined Monday there was probable cause to hold Nixon and Lake until they receive formal charges.
Kalispell Police Chief Roger Nasset said Naldrett was arrested for possessing items taken from the victim’s residence after the murder. He said police are still investigating the level of Naldrett’s involvement in the crimes.
Nasset said law officers believe the murder occurred the night of April 12.
“With subsequent interviews, we are even more sure now that this is directly related to medical marijuana,” Nasset said.
“We have direct statements from suspects saying medical marijuana was the focus.”
During the several days between the homicide and when Collins’ body was found, his apartment was burglarized “the full gamut, from drugs to tools,” Nasset said.
Nasset said police have been hearing “multiple stories” about the killing and the events surrounding it and they are “trying to get a picture of what really happened.”
Nasset said it is “very possible that other suspects involved outside of the homicide may be arrested.”
Naldrett was not the man who was questioned by police and then released on Sunday.
Although Robert Cates, a medical marijuana provider for Collins, told the Inter Lake on Monday that the crimes were related to prescription drugs and not medical marijuana, Nasset said: “He [Cates] has no knowledge of what happened in this crime to make the assertion that this isn’t related to medical marijuana.”
The crime has stirred up a defensive reaction from medical-marijuana advocates who don’t believe that marijuana was involved.
Nasset maintained that the precise motives for the robbery and murder are still under investigation, but stressed that the focus should be on the life lost, not the medical-marijuana issue.
Nasset said Lake and Nixon are believed to be associated with a gang that revolves around the rap metal duo called Insane Clown Posse. Naldrett “runs with the same crowd,” according to Nasset, who said he is unsure whether Naldrett is a follower of the group in the same fashion as Lake and Nixon.
Reporter Melissa Weaver may be reached at 758-4441 or by e-mail at email@example.com