UPDATED Thursday, May 29, 2014 --- 5:55 p.m.
All it takes is a slight change in chemical makeup and an illegal drug could become completely legal. That's the situation prosecutors are dealing with in Janesville.
He's charged with using his daughter to deliver drugs, something he could have spent 12 years behind bars for, but prosecutors say because of a technicality, Quentin Ellefson walked out of court a free man today.
We first brought you this story back in December, when Ellefson was charged with using his then 13-year-old daughter daughter to deal drugs. Both were caught and both were charged.
"She struggles everyday because of this, not to mention that she is addicted, she's been addicted to drugs now because she was doing them with her father," says the girl's mother, Rebecca Peterson.
She says her daughter is now in treatment, but seeing her father go free sets a horrible example.
"I always try to teach my children if you do something wrong you will be held accountable and he was not," Peterson adds.
You might be wondering how he got out of it? Prosecutors say at the time of the incident it wasn't one of the substances listed in the Wisconsin Uniform Controlled Substance Act. So they had nothing to charge him with.
"The problem that we have with synthetics, is if we change one compound then it's no longer listed," says Rock Co. Asst. District Attorney, Rich Sullivan.
But Ellefson's attorney says loophole in the law or not, his client is innocent.
"The state indicated to the court it was because of the crime lab report that there was no controlled substance found, but our position was that there was no guilt anyways, he had nothing to do with this," says Attorney, Jack Hoag.
Peterson says she's fighting for full custody of her daughter after this incident and is worried these charges being dropped on a technicality, could cost her her daughter.
"I'm devastated, absolutely devastated."
And as Ellefson left the court room today, a free man, the judge left him with a warning.
"Go ahead keep doing your business, we'll catch up to you eventually, we'll see you again," said Judge James Daley.
UPDATED Thursday, May 29, 2014 --- 1:40 p.m.
The case against a Janesville man who was accused of using his daughter to deal synthetic marijuana has been dismissed.
42-year-old Quentin Ellefson was charged late last year with using a child to deliver drugs. His lawyer says the substance he was accused of dealing was not a controlled substance and the charges have been dropped.
The prosecution says that because the chemical makeup of the synthetic marijuana wasn't technically illegal, the state has nothing to charge Ellefson with.
A judge dismissed the case but told Ellefson “Keep doing what you're doing and the law will catch up to you eventually.”
Posted December 11, 2013 --- 6:29 p.m.
Using kids as drug mules, it's a problem that has happened twice now in Janesville in the past couple months, and both kids were under 14-years-old.
The most recent incident happened late last week when a 13-year-old girl showed up to deliver drugs at Kris Harnack's home.
"At first I noticed my son getting very sick and throwing up."
Kris knew something wasn't right with her 15-year-old son Lucas.
"He left his cell phone open so I started reading his messages."
That's when the realization hit, her son, a recovering drug addict who over dosed in April, was using again. She wanted to get to the bottom of it.
"I'm going to "be" Lucas, and I was texting this person back."
Kris says she texted the number of the person who sold her son the drugs, asking for 50 bucks worth of whatever the dealer had.
"She said I will be there in 15 minutes and this was after 11p.m."
But in that 15 minutes she delved deeper into the text conversation, figuring out this dealer was a 13-year-old girl, and wasn't working alone. Her dad was involved.
"No parent should do that to their child, ever."
So what started as Kris wanting to scare the dealer straight turned into so much more.
"When I read into it more and found out the father was involved I thought I needed the police."
She says when the girl came to deliver, she locked the door behind her and wouldn't let her go until police got there.
"The 13 year-old's father actually brought her to the residence to complete the transaction, so ultimately they were both arrested and this is very concerning for us," says Janesville Detective, Keith Lawver.
Documents show 42-year-old Quentin Ellefson, is charged with using a child to deliver drugs, a crime that could put him behind bars for more than 12 years. Almost as long as his daughter's been alive. Police say despite the two instances, it's not a growing concern.
"Would I say it's a huge problem as far as numbers? Probably not, but importance yes, it is a problem."
Kris says she has no regrets for what she did.
"I just can't sit back, I'm not going to let my son die, I'm not going to let these kids change them and get them on their side."