Winsted-Lester Prairie Journal, May 7, 2001

Two men receive drug possession charges from Silver Lake drug bust

By Gail Lipe

Benjamin Zachary Hanson, 26, of Silver Lake, and Craig Edward Johnson, 43, of Buffalo, were charged with possession of methamphetamine after a search warrant was executed at an apartment on Main Street in Silver Lake by the Southwest Metro Drug Task Force on Wednesday, April 18.

Hanson, who rents the apartment at 129 E. Main St., is charged with one felony count of first degree controlled substance crime - possession of methamphetamine. He faces up to 30 years in prison and/or a $1 million fine.

Johnson is charged with one count of second degree controlled substance crime - possession of methamphetamine, which could mean up to 20 years in prison and/or $250,000 fine.

According to the complaint filed against Johnson in McLeod County District Court, 15 grams of an off-white substance believed to be methamphetamine was found in a plastic bag in Johnson's front pocket.

Johnson was taken to McLeod County jail and was released on a $4,000 bond.

He appeared in court on Monday, April 30, with his attorney, Richard L. Swanson. A motion to dismiss was filed, as well as a motion for disclosure. An omnibus hearing was set for June 29 at 1:30 p.m., with a jury trial set for July 24, at 9 a.m.

According to the complaint filed against Hanson, Hanson led the task force officers to a total of 150 grams of methamphetamine in a dice shaker, a maroon eyeglass container and the top drawer of a light colored dresser during the search.

According to the Silver Lake Leader, Silver Lake Police Chief Eric Klein assisted the task force in the search. He said that 1 gram of methamphetamine is considered to be 120 "servings."

A member of the Southwest Metro Drug Task Force said that the amount of methamphetamine that was found was clearly a dealer amount. But there are two crimes in the state of Minnesota - sale crimes and possession crimes.

To charge someone with a sale crime, the person has to be caught in the act of selling.

The investigation that led to the search warrant began within the last month, he said. Wright County had intelligence on Johnson and Hanson before the Southwest Metro Drug Task Force.

Hanson was taken to the McLeod County jail and later released on a $20,000 bond.

Hanson also was charged with possession of a small amount of marijuana by the Hutchinson Police Department.

The complaint alleges that Hanson admitted having possession of a small bag of a green leafy substance believed to be marijuana when a search warrant was executed at the Valley Vista Apartments in Hutchinson on Jan. 18.

It states that Hanson was on the bed in the master bedroom when the apartment was searched and the bag was found under the mattress.

Hanson appeared in court on both charges on April 27 at which time an omnibus hearing was set for June 8.

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