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La Crosse man accused of giving meth to 12-year-old at North Side laundromat

La Crosse man accused of giving meth to 12-year-old at North Side laundromat

From the What you missed this week in notable La Crosse crimes and court cases series
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Samuel Welda mug

Welda

A La Crosse man was in court Friday after he was accused of giving methamphetamine to a 12-year-old Thursday at a La Crosse laundromat — accusations he denied through the public defender’s office.

Samuel D. Welda, 53, was charged with child enticement as a repeat offender in La Crosse County Circuit Court.

The child’s parent called police at about 8 p.m. after the child said he had “snorted meth” and didn’t feel well, according to the criminal complaint. The child described feeling jittery and itchy, and police called an ambulance to take him to the hospital.

According to the complaint, the child said a guy he knows named “Sam” gave him meth in the bathroom at Giant Wash Laundromat, 1554 Charles St. The owner of the laundromat recognized the name and was able to direct police to Welda’s nearby residence.

Video surveillance at the laundromat shows the child talking to a man, later identified as Welda, making an injection motion with his hand and then the two going to the bathroom together for about 90 seconds.

Welda told police he went into the bathroom to blow his nose and denied giving the child drugs, according to the complaint.

The child told police Welda never forced him to try the drugs and was never told to pay, exchange or trade anything for the meth, according to the complaint. His description of the man who gave him drugs also matched Welda, according to police.

“Mr. Welda does deny the allegations leveled here against him,” public defender Thomas Rhodes told the court.

Judge Todd Bjerke said he was concerned about the allegations, but given the situation with the coronavirus and law enforcement’s familiarity with Welda, he would grant the request for a signature bond.

“Whether you deny the allegations or not, these are serious, so make sure you follow the expectations so you don’t make things worse,” Bjerke said.

He also ordered Welda to report to Justice Support Services and said if he did not, Bjerke would require cash. Welda is also prohibited to have contact with minors and required to only take drugs as prescribed by a doctor.

Welda has previous misdemeanor convictions for criminal damage to property, disorderly conduct and receiving stolen property, according to court records.


Jourdan Vian can be reached at jvian@lacrossetribune.com or follow her on Twitter at @Jourdan_LCT.

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