Minnesota police department 'deactivated' after chief accused of theft

A small northern Minnesota city is temporarily without a police department as the department's chief faces charges of stealing from a kratom shop

The City of Emily, Minnesota, located about 30 miles north of Brainerd, voted in March to "deactivate" its department after being notified about an investigation into Chief Damien Stalker.

Stalker was charged a month later with theft for allegedly stealing nearly $1,000 worth of items from Kratom Extract Products. Charges filed on April 12 state Stalker admitted to taking the products but claimed he had an agreement with the business to "take the product and pay for it at a later time."

However, speaking with investigators, the shop's business manager denied any type of relationship existed.

Kratom is a legal substance that can be addictive. The National Institute of Health says it's used for a variety of conditions, including easing withdrawal symptoms for someone addicted to opioids. Kratom can trigger effects similar to opoids or stimulants. However, some people use it for a variety of issues including pain, fatigue, and mental help troubles. But, currently, there are no FDA-approved uses for kratom and the drug comes with a host of concerns.

"FDA is concerned that kratom, which affects the same opioid brain receptors as morphine, appears to have properties that expose users to the risks of addiction, abuse, and dependence," a posting from the FDA reads.

Stalker is set to make his first court appearance next month.