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Buffalo Ridge Drug task Force makes Murray County busts

SLAYTON -- The Buffalo Ridge Drug Task Force was busy in Murray County during the last week of June, seizing marijuana in two different searches, along with guns, methamphetamine paraphernalia and synthetic drugs.

On June 26, a search warrant was executed on 20th Street in Slayton at the residence of David Michael Brown, 33, and more than 100 marijuana plants seized. The criminal complaint states authorities had received a tip Brown was growing marijuana in the back of a dump truck. A Murray County deputy was asked to fly over the premises and verify the information.

The deputy reported an old dump truck back up close to a shed, with a ladder against the side and a hose leading from the shed to the truck. Numerous plants were observed inside the box of the truck.

When agents and officers arrived to execute the search warrant, a girl answered the door and informed them she was home alone. During the search, 112 marijuana plants were located in the truck box.

Less than 15 minutes after the task force began the search, Brown arrived at the scene in an SUV with another of his children. He was placed under arrest for controlled substances and transported to the Law Enforcement Center (LEC).

A search of the SUV turned up a glass meth pipe containing a usable amount of the drug and a synthetic cannabinoid labeled at Tropic Thunder Kryptonite.

During a further search of the premises, a baggie that tested positive for meth was found, as were 14 long guns, a pill bottle bearing another person's name and a pen tube that also tested positive.

At the LEC, Brown was told a search had been conducted at his residence and asked if he knew of any drugs. He allegedly indicated there were 100 pot plants in the dump truck and a meth pipe in his vehicle. He admitted the plants and pipe were his, and said he had started the pot plants in March in the shop, then moved them to the back of the truck.

Brown allegedly admitted he smokes meth a couple of times a week, and said he didn't know if a domestic abuse conviction precluded him from owning firearms.

During a further inventory of the SUV, three more synthetic cannabinoids were located, called Blue Very, Devil's Dank and Mauie Wauie. Notices of seizure and forfeiture were provided on the vehicles and firearms, and a review of Brown's criminal history showed a domestic assault conviction with subsequent probation violations, making him ineligible to own firearms.

Bail was set at $5,000, and Brown is scheduled to make a court appearance Monday. He is charged with three counts of fifth-degree controlled substance possession, storing meth paraphernalia in the presence of a child and possessing synthetic cannabinoid.

Two days later, on June 28, the drug task force executed a search warrant in the city of Fulda and arrested Dillon Alex Hotovec, 23, and Theresa Jane Pederson, also known as Theresa Jane Heffner, 47. Each was charged with fifth-degree controlled substance possession, drug paraphernalia and possession of a small amount of marijuana.

When authorities executed the search warrant, there was no answer at the door. The agents observed three pit bull dogs inside. Hotovec arrived at the residence and put the dogs inside a kennel.

During the search, agents and officers found a glass pipe, straw, cotton swab and a plastic baggie that all tested positive for meth residue. An ice cream pail was located in a bedroom that contained four gallon-sized baggies of marijuana and eight smaller zip baggies. Also found were various pipes, bongs, grinders, scales and pills, and items associated with marijuana growing.

During the search, Pederson arrived and was arrested for possession of a controlled substance. She allegedly informed the agents she had seven different names.

Hotovec said he had lived at the residence for six months and had smoked marijuana right before the officers' arrival. He said he does not do meth. He said he knew there was marijuana in the house, but did not know about the meth.

Pederson allegedly admitted the meth found in the house was hers, as was the marijuana. She said she gets her marijuana through the mail, and sells pot and meth to a few people.

Hotovec has several previous marijuana convictions. His bail was set at $5,000, and his next court appearance is July 16 in Murray County District Court.

Bail was also set at $5,000 for Pederson, who had a previous conviction for assault. She is scheduled to appear in court Monday.

Daily Globe Reporter Justine Wettschreck may be reached at 376-7330.