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Suspect pleads in deadly synthetic drug ring

GRAND FORKS, N.D. — Another suspect has pleaded guilty in what authorities say was a synthetic drug ring in eastern North Dakota and northwestern Minnesota that led to two overdose deaths and at least five hospitalizations.

Steven Bucher pleaded guilty in federal court in Fargo Wednesday to a conspiracy charge. He's to be sentenced in March. Bucher is about 21 years old and a former University of North Dakota student.

All 11 people charged in the case have reached plea agreements with prosecutors. Three people already have been sentenced and a fourth is to be sentenced next week.

Andrew Spofford, the man authorities say spearheaded the ring and cooked up the synthetic drugs, pleaded guilty in late October to drug and conspiracy charges. He's to be sentenced next year.

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