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Man pleads guilty to meth lab charges

WORTHINGTON -- Scott Gordon Reinke, accused in December 2007 of manufacturing methamphetamine at his residence in Dundee, pleaded guilty in Nobles County District Court Monday to first-degree controlled substance-conspiracy to manufacture meth.

Reinke, 37, moved to Colorado after he bailed out on a $25,000 bond, but came back to Minnesota to attend a contested omnibus hearing. The prosecution and defense were able to come to an agreement regarding a plea, and Reinke will be allowed to return to Colorado pending a sentence hearing, which will take place after a pre-sentence investigation (PSI) is complete.

Although he accepted an agreement that the other charges will be dismissed, Reinke maintained the right to argue for a downward departure on the presumptive sentence, which would be 74 months. Judge Jeffrey Flynn told Reinke he would have to discuss a downward departure with the probation agent who does the PSI.

"You can make your case to the probation agent," Flynn said. "For whatever reasons you believe you should have a downward departure."

Flynn questioned Reinke as to his understanding of the rights he would be giving up by pleading guilty, then allowed prosecuting attorney Paul Kempainen of the Minnesota Attorney General's Office to question Reinke regarding his guilt. He answered positively to queries of conspiring with another to manufacture meth, purchasing pseudoephedrine pills and setting up a lab.

The complaint will be amended to delete the reference to guns, and it was agreed Reinke could transfer ownership of his guns to a friend or relative in writing so they can be released from the evidence locker and sold.

"Is that how you understand the world?" Flynn asked Reinke, regarding the gun ownership.

"Yes, sir," Reinke answered with a surprised chuckle.

On Nov. 29, 2007, the Buffalo Ridge Drug Task Force executed a search warrant at Reinke's Dundee residence. At the time the warrant was executed, Reinke was at the residence and an alleged co-conspirator, Kari Ann Kremer, had just left the house. Authorities found a lab in the house, complete with glass beakers and red phosphorus in the kitchen.

Reinke told the agents he had just finished cooking meth and had smoked what he made, but mixtures containing meth were found in a beaker and a glass pop bottle.

In December, a Worthington police detective reviewed the pseudoephedrine logs in Worthington and found that Reinke had purchased large amounts of the drug from various pharmacies -- 16 purchases in four months.

Kremer, who was charged in the case just last week, had made 10 pseudoephedrine purchases in three months. She faces charges of conspiracy to manufacture meth, first-degree controlled substance-aiding and abetting, second-degree controlled substance possession and possessing substance with intent to manufacture meth. Although she did not accompany Reinke to court Monday, Reinke's attorney said it was his understanding Kremer, who also lives in Colorado, would attend the sentencing and make arrangements to handle her charges.