- A unique drug investigation means the case against a Rhinelander man will take even longer. John L. Hildebrand is charged with seven felony counts of distributing a hazardous substance.
Today the case was rescheduled for a few reasons, one being that prosecutors are still investigating the drug Hildebrand is accused of selling.
The changing nature of designer drugs means law enforcement is constantly trying to keep up. One kind of drug gets banned, and drug makers change part of the chemical makeup so the law doesn't apply to it anymore.
"It's difficult because of course whenever statutes are drafted they can't be over broad. We can't outlaw things that shouldn't be outlawed, of course, nor do we want to. But they have to be able to control for the behavior. And what's been happening is kind of a chess game," says Oneida County Assistant District Attorney Scott Moller.
Hildebrand was originally charged with selling MDMA, or bath salts. It's a controlled substance and carries a higher penalty.
But tests on some of the drugs showed it was actually a revised formula, very similar to bath salts, also know as an analog. New legislation that outlaws analogs will help prosecutors in cases like this.
"So essentially broadening the scope of what's made against the law. And that's been, well it's new, but it's becoming an important tool for the prosecution," says Moller.
As of now the charges stand at distributing a hazardous substance. But ADA Scott Moller says they're still investigating to determine a final classification for the drugs he's accused of selling.
Hildebrand is also now facing a felony charge of theft in an unrelated case. He's the owner of Hildebrand Construction, and he's accused of contractor fraud. Both cases will continue later this month.