AUSTIN, Minn. – Three people arrested after a drug task force investigation are pleading not guilty.
The Mower County Sheriff’s Office says it stopped a vehicle on December 18 on County Road 2 and executed a search warrant on it. Investigators say they found a .38 caliber Taurus pistol and 1.44 grams of methamphetamine in a backpack. The driver, 21-year-old Cully Thomas Shierts of Austin, and a passenger, 27-year-old Jennifer Ann Elizabeth Spaeth of Austin, were taken to the Mower County Jail.
Authorities say a further search of the vehicle turned up .38 caliber ammunition, 9mm ammunition, drug paraphernalia, a small amount of marijuana, three cell phones, and $223.
Law enforcement then searched the Austin home of 27-year-old Ryan Jiles Baldus, where they say they found nearly 12 grams of meth, marijuana wax, a small amount of marijuana, a mirror with meth residue, drug paraphernalia, and a box of .223 caliber rifle ammunition.
A dog at the home was taken to the animal shelter.
Spaeth is charged with 3rd and 5th degree drug possession, two counts of illegal transport of a pistol, possession of a firearm as a drug user, possession of ammunition as a drug user, possession of drug paraphernalia, and possession of a small amount of marijuana.
Shierts is charged with 5th degree drug possession, two counts of illegal transport of a pistol, driving after revocation, possession of a firearm as a drug user, possession of ammunition as a drug user, possession of drug paraphernalia, and possession of a small amount of marijuana.
Baldus is facing charges of violent felon in possession of a firearm, violent felon in possession of ammunition, and two counts of 5th degree drug possession.
Spaeth and Shierts are set to stand trial on April 23. Baldus’ trial is scheduled for April 2.