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Two charged with meth dealing in Jackson County

JACKSON -- Two people are facing felony-level drug charges in Jackson County District Court that stem from a controlled buy from June 2011.

Charges were filed last week against Cheryl Deanna Chavez, 29, of Lakefield, and Phaiwan Nunthavong, 35, of Mountain Lake, also known as Thongkhan Nunthavong. Both face second- and third-degree controlled substance sale accessory.

The controlled buy took place in Lakefield with the cooperation of an informant who had a pending felony drug charge.

The informant had set up the buy with Chavez and the two met outside Chavez's apartment.

Shortly after the informant arrived at the residence, an Asian man, later identified as Nunthavong, pulled up outside and entered the building.

Authorities listening over surveillance equipment heard the voice of Chavez's 8-year-old son as he greeted the man, calling him "Chino."

They listened to a conversation about drugs, scales and the expense of methamphetamine.

The informant turned over 4 grams of methamphetamine during the debriefing, stating Nunthavong had handed over the meth, and the money given to Chavez for the buy had been handed to Nunthavong.

While they were all together, the informant said, Nunthavong had produced more meth, which Nunthavong and Chavez had smoked.

Several days later, the informant had positively identified Nunthavong in a picture lineup.

A month later, a deputy investigating a one-vehicle rollover involving Chavez and her boyfriend discovered Chavez and her son live with the boyfriend at the Lakefield address.

The man said he was an over-the-road trucker and is gone a lot.

Nunthavong has an arrest and conviction record that covers district courts in Hennepin, Cottonwood, Scott, Watonwan, Lake of the Woods and Nicollet Counties.

He has convictions for theft, controlled substance and conspiracy.

He has been charged eight times with driving after cancellation and three times with giving a false name to a peace officer.

He is currently on probation, and was scheduled to appear in Lake of the Woods County District Court last week for a probation violation hearing.

Readers may reach Daily Globe reporter Justine Wettschreck at