Man arrested in 2018 drug sweep now graduating drug court, says he is changing his life and others

"I'm gaining life. A real life," he says.

Posted: Feb 14, 2020 7:58 AM
Updated: Feb 14, 2020 8:55 AM

ROCHESTER, Minn. - On Thursday, Dan Wateski completed the five phases of Olmsted County drug court and graduated from the program.

Wateski was arrested for selling meth during a big spring 2018 drug sweep. It was only shortly before his arrest that Wateski had decided he was ready to change his ways. He says drug court was the "perfect opportunity" to do so.

"I know when I do drugs what I become and my conscience killed me every single day for what I was doing. I knew I was hurting my community, hurting other people," he says.

In drug court, participants work through mental health issues, chemical dependency, and trauma.

Drug court coordinator Joe Vogel says during his 20 years as a probation officer, he's never seen anyone want sobriety and success as badly as Wateski. "Out of all the people that I've worked with, he was one of the hardest working people that I've ever met," he explains.

Wateski is now two years sober, owns his own business Ducks Truck Cut and Polish, manages employees, and is working on building his credit to buy a home. He says drug court was a "guide to life" and gave him the tools and resources to find success. "I'm gaining life. A real life," he says.

His advice for anyone else struggling with drug abuse and wanting to make a positive change is to "do whatever it takes... reach out for help... these officers and this system here in Olmsted County will help you. They will find a way. If you want them to."

Wateski is now mentoring other people who are transitioning out of the system and wanting to make positive change in their lives.

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