Multiple arrests made for meth crimesWORTHINGTON — The Buffalo Ridge Drug Task Force was kept busy in April, arresting more than half a dozen people on methamphetamine or marijuana-related charges. In the majority of the arrests, children lived in the residences involved.
WORTHINGTON — The Buffalo Ridge Drug Task Force was kept busy in April, arresting more than half a dozen people on methamphetamine or marijuana-related charges. In the majority of the arrests, children lived in the residences involved.
Charges were filed Friday against Jesus Melchore Wiese, 33, and Amy Jo Knapper, 31, who both reside on Grand Avenue in Worthington.
Task force agents executed a search warrant at their residence Wednesday shortly after noon, finding Wiese at home with his two minor children. Knapper, Wiese’s girlfriend, arrived home during the search.
According to the criminal complaints, the agents could smell marijuana as they entered a bedroom. A small amount of marijuana and drug paraphernalia was located, as was a plastic baggie that tested positive for meth.
After his arrest, Wiese allegedly stated he had smoked marijuana in the house a few days before the search, but denied knowing anything about meth-related items. He told authorities he had not used meth in six months.
Knapper allegedly admitted to smoking marijuana within the week prior to the search, but claimed she has not used meth since April 2002. When told about the baggie in her bedroom, Knapper said she did not believe the agent. He showed her a photograph of the baggie, and Knapper allegedly said she recognized it as one she had gotten from her mother.
Both were charged with fifth-degree controlled substance possession, possession of a small amount of marijuana and drug paraphernalia. Both were released on their own recognizance Friday.
On Thursday, Tony Oang Voravong, 40, of Worthington, was charged with second-degree controlled substance possession and storing meth paraphernalia in the presence of a child or vulnerable adult.
Task force agents had executed a search warrant at his residence on Grand Avenue Tuesday, locating meth in the house and a vehicle after the Worthington/ Nobles Emergency Response Unit (ERU) cleared the house. An agent allegedly found a baggie of meth inside a coat pocket, along with a plastic spoon that tested positive for meth. In a downstairs living room, four baggies with approximately 8 grams of meth were located on top of an entertainment stand. Also found were several pipes that tested positive for meth.
While the search was being executed, Voravong’s girlfriend arrived and gave consent to search her van. In a storage compartment under the radio, an agent found a scale and some tubing, both of which tested positive for meth.
After being arrested, Voravong allegedly stated he had used meth several nights ago while fishing. He told authorities there was meth in the basement of the house, either in the fish tank or on top of the TV. He admitted using meth in the garage in the past, and said he commonly uses scales to weigh his meth, but had not sold any yet.
His girlfriend stated Voravong and a friend had used the van the night before to go fishing. She allegedly said she was suspicious that Voravong was using meth again because he was not coming home and was awake for long periods of time.
The girlfriend’s teenage son lives with the couple at the residence.
Voravong’s bail was set at $25,000, and an application for a public defender was approved.
Last week, Tuan Thanh Tran, 41, of Worthington, was arrested at a residence on Apel Avenue after a search warrant was executed at 9:34 a.m. April 13. In a bedroom, an agent allegedly found a bong with liquid and a residue that tested positive for meth. Numerous plastic baggies were also found, along with a second bong.
Tran arrived home during the search and was taken into custody. He allegedly stated he started using meth about six months ago, and had just smoked that morning. He admitted he smokes meth in his bedroom, which is located next to the bedroom where his five children sleep.
Tran was charged with fifth-degree controlled substance possession, meth paraphernalia in the presence of a child and drug paraphernalia. His bail was set at $1,500.
Minutes after the search on Apel Avenue began, a second warrant was executed on Clary Street, resulting in three arrests. John Thammavongsa, 18, Thanome Phouangphet, 30, and Khammany Phimsen, 45, were all charged later with fifth-degree controlled substance possession. Phouangphet and Thammavongsa were also charged with two counts each of storing meth paraphernalia in the presence of a vulnerable adult.
The ERU cleared the house, finding all three suspects in the residence, along with a vulnerable adult. Agents found a meth pipe with residue and a baggie with a “usable” amount of meth. A marijuana pipe was found in Thammavongsa’ pocket, and a glass pipe that tested positive for meth was found in Phouangphet’s purse. Two plastic baggies found between a mattress and box spring tested positive for meth.
After being arrested, Phouangphet said she rents the residence and lives there with Phimsen and her niece — a vulnerable adult for whom Phouangphet is the primary caregiver. She also babysits at the residence during the week. She claimed she did not know about the meth, but has suspected something as Phimsen had been asking for money lately and staying out late.
Thammavongsa said he uses meth in the basement with Phimsen and is aware Phouangphet babysits children in the house.
Phimsen allegedly admitted to using meth with Thammavongsa and said he purchases the meth himself and shares.
Thammavongsa and Phouangphet were released on their own recognizance, while bail was set at $1,000 for Phimsen.
The following day, April 14, the task force arrested Shawna Marie Fleshman, 40, at her 10th Avenue residence after executing a search warrant and locating two pen straws and a pipe that tested positive for meth. Agents were knocking on the door of the house when one saw a woman looking at them through a window. No one answered the door, and agents ended up forcing their way inside.
After Fleshman’s arrest, she allegedly said she shares a room with her three children and admitted to using meth in the past.
Found elsewhere in the house were court papers, a letter from family services, plant residue, marijuana and baggies.
Fleshman’s bail was set at $2,500.