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Murray County authorities seize cash, marijuana during arrest

SLAYTON -- The occupants of a vehicle that supposedly swerved to avoid hitting a deer and landed in a cornfield ended up in jail, and one is now facing drug possession charges. Authorities seized more than $5,000 during the arrest.

David Joseph VanMeveren, 49, of Fulda, formerly of Iona, is charged with fifth-degree controlled substance possession and possession of marijuana. He has two previous drug possession convictions and a conviction for test refusal, all in Murray County.

The complaint states authorities were contacted at approximately 5:15 a.m. May 25 regarding suspicious people and a truck and trailer that had gotten stuck in a cornfield. During the investigation, more than 50 grams of marijuana, small amounts of methamphetamine and $5,110 in cash were seized.

A deputy for the Murray County Sheriff's Office arrived at the scene on CSAH 2 and found the pickup and trailer. Both the pickup box and trailer were filled with items and covered with a tarp, but there was no one around the vehicle.

The deputy continued to the complainant's residence and was told a dark pickup occupied by two males and one female had stopped and the female had asked him for help. The farmer said he didn't have a way to help them, so they left. He told the deputy he was worried about damage to his field and something just didn't feel right, so he called the sheriff's office.

The deputy went back to the scene and a black pickup arrived with the three occupants.

VanMeveren, seated in-between a male and female, seemed to be under the influence of meth, the deputy reported, and he could smell marijuana coming from the vehicle.

The driver of the black pickup cooperated when asked to step to the rear of the vehicle. He told the deputy he was helping the others move, and they had called him for help after the truck went in the field. A tow truck was coming at 7 a.m., he said. The deputy checked his pockets and found two pipes with marijuana residue.

While talking with the man, the deputy noticed VanMeveren and the woman making furtive movements inside the pickup. The deputy asked if they had any weapons or drugs, and both denied possessing either. The deputy separated the two and asked VanMeveren to step to the front of the vehicle. In his pockets, the deputy found two baggies containing meth and two containers of marijuana.

The women denied having or using any drugs, but the deputy could smell marijuana. She said she had been driving, swerved to avoid a deer and ended up in the cornfield, where the truck got stuck.

The deputy did a search of the vehicle and found a baggie containing 52.2 grams of marijuana. The driver said it was not his, and the woman acted like she was surprised it was there, denying ownership. VanMeveren, upon being questioned, admitted the drugs were his.

The woman had left her purse on the seat of the truck, and the deputy could see a large amount of cash in the purse. He moved the purse to his squad for safekeeping, and had his K-9 do a sniff search of the vehicle. The dog alerted at the spot the marijuana had been located and at the spot the woman had been sitting.

The woman said the cash was $600 VanMeveren had given her the day before to buy his son a graduation present. She said she had taken some money out of the bank, also, but could not remember the amount. She thought she had about $3,000, and said the money was to pay rent and buy a cake.

In his report, the deputy noted the story from the woman was convoluted and made no sense. The deputy also found a letter in her purse regarding assistance she received from the state, and wrote he found it odd that someone on assistance had so much cash. He also found a debit card bearing someone else's name in her purse.

The woman said she hadn't used any drugs in years and didn't know VanMeveren used drugs. Later, she admitted she had used meth the day before, was on probation and had to submit to random drug testing.

VanMeveren said he had given the woman $600 a week ago and had another $200 in his wallet. A total of 66.5 grams of marijuana were seized.

At the law enforcement center, VanMeveren and the woman were tested for drugs. The woman's urine came back positive for amphetamine, opiates and creatinine. VanMeveren tested positive for THC, amphetamine, methadone, ethanol, ecstasy and creatinine.

The $4,814 found in the woman's purse was seized, as was the $296 found in VanMeveren's wallet. They were transported to the Lyon County Jail, and both posted bail and were release that evening. VanMeveren's bail was set at $2,000.

He is scheduled to make an appearance in Murray County District Court on Monday.