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Different agencies work together to arrest alleged drug traffickers

Thanks to a tip from the Boundary Waters Drug Task Force, local law enforcement officials arrested three Iron Range residents for possession of drugs April 23 in Moose Lake.

Makela

Thanks to a tip from the Boundary Waters Drug Task Force, local law enforcement officials arrested three Iron Range residents for possession of drugs April 23 in Moose Lake.

Jesse Robert Makela, 30, and Joanne Louise Myers, 50, both of Hibbing, and Amanda Jean Meittunen, 28, of Chisholm, were charged April 25 in Carlton County Court with felony second-degree possession of drugs.

According to the criminal complaint:

On April 23, investigators from the Boundary Waters Task Force contacted Carlton County Sheriff's deputies and Cloquet Police detectives regarding an ongoing drug investigation involving individuals who were traveling from the Pine County area back through Carlton County with methamphetamine they were transporting back to the Range area.

The Task Force provided local law enforcement with a description of the vehicle as well as the individuals involved in the drug transportation. Officers made arrangements to watch Interstate 35 and, after a period of time, they observed a vehicle matching the description exit onto Highway 73 into Moose Lake.

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Minnesota State Trooper Dave Vereecken made the traffic stop and identified the three people in the vehicle as Makela, Meittunen and Myers.

According to the complaint, when the defendants exited the car, one of the Cloquet detectives allegedly observed Meittunen drop a meth pipe on the floor. When asked who it belonged to, she said it belonged to all three.

Because detectives had prior information from the Boundary Waters Task Force, they obtained a search warrant for the vehicle and discovered more than six grams of methamphetamine in the vehicle.

The complaint states that Makela and Meittunen had gone to the Twin Cities area and stopped at the casino in Hinckley on their way back north. Myers drove to pick up Makela and Meittunen, allegedly knowing the purpose of the trip was to purchase methamphetamine. According to the criminal complaint, all three used some of the drug prior to being arrested.

Although Myers only has one previous conviction -- for a DUI in 2010 -- both Makela and Meittunen have more extensive criminal records. Makela had previously been convicted of a number of theft charges, third-degree burglary, theft of a motor vehicle, fleeing a police officer in a motor vehicle, terroristic threats as well as fifth-degree sale of drugs. Meittunen has previously pleaded guilty to fifth-degree possession of drugs as well as fourth-degree possession of drugs.

The maximum sentence for second-degree possession of a controlled substance is 25 years or $500,000 for a first violation and not less than three years or more than 40 years for a subsequent violation.

Bail for Makela and Meittunen was set at $5,000; Myers was released on her own recognizance.

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Related Topics: CARLTON COUNTYCRIME
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