Judge allows ND sheriff charged with meth distribution, bribery to travel out of state

Judge allows ND sheriff charged with meth distribution, bribery to travel out of state

Despite objections from Wells County State’s Attorney Kathleen Murray, Southeast District Court Judge Daniel Narum.made the ruling at a bond hearing for Johnny Zip Lawson.

Lawson was placed under arrest on May 26 on five separate charges – conspiracy to deliver a controlled substance, bribery, false reports to law enforcement or other security officials, public servant refusing to perform duty and ingesting a controlled substance. Lawson resigned from his sheriff’s position shortly before his arrest.

Narum ruled that Lawson can travel to South Dakota and Montana with the stipulation that any travel to Montana must be work related.

Lawson told investigators after his arrest that he was a methamphetamine user.

The ex-sheriff was granted a $25,000 unsecured appearance bond, meaning he was released without submitting any payment to the court. A provision of his release is that he “file a release of information with the court authorizing your employer to provide drug and alcohol test results.”  

Murray contends Lawson is a “danger to others, namely witnesses and informants” and is a “flight risk.”  She also requested the court “reconsider the bail required of the defendant and impose the 24/7 drug patch, as well as additional cash and/or surety bail from the defendant that would be consistent with this type of serious offense.” Narum disagreed.

Lawson’s next hearing is Sept. 8.