FAIRMONT - Two Ceylon men - Danny Ray Vineyard, 52, and Justin Charles Hatfield, 30 - each face first-degree drug charges for allegedly manufacturing methamphetamine.
The charges stem from a traffic stop June 28, when meth precursors allegedly were found in the vehicle, with the investigation reportedly leading to an active meth lab at Hatfield's residence.
According to information from the Martin County Sheriff's Office:
Shortly after 1:30 p.m. June 28, a deputy stopped a vehicle on Interstate 90 for a traffic violation.
The driver was identified as Vineyard. An intern working with the deputy pointed out there was an open bottle of alcohol behind the driver's seat on the floor. Vineyard said the bottle belonged to his passenger, Hatfield. Vineyard is on probation and is not to be in possession of or consume alcohol or controlled substances.
When contact was made with Hatfield, the deputy noticed a knife handle sticking out between the seat and center console. The knife, along with a large screwdriver, were confiscated, and police did a weapons check on the vehicle. During the search, the deputy found a box containing 96 pseudoephedrine pills under Hatfield's seat. At that point, the deputy also noticed Hatfield exhibiting signs that indicated he was under the influence of methamphetamine.
Consent was given to search the vehicle, and some instant ice compress packs were found. Both the nitrate from the instant ice packs and pseudoephedrine are key ingredients in manufacturing meth. Vineyard claimed the ice packs were for his back, while Hatfield said the pseudoephedrine pills were for his allergies.
A second deputy who arrived at the scene had received information that Hatfield was manufacturing meth at his residence. A search warrant was granted for Hatfield's residence later in the day, and officials there found more evidence of meth manufacturing, including a gallon of Coleman lantern fuel and lithium batteries that had been cut in half. There were also several plastic bottles and jugs that held unknown chemicals.
The Minnesota River Valley Drug Task Force was called to assist in proper cleanup of the chemicals. One of the jugs was confirmed to be an active meth lab, and the liquid inside tested positive for methamphetamine.
During police interviews, Hatfield said the pills and ice packs found in the vehicle were purchased to be used in the manufacturing of meth. He told police he manufactured meth about once per month, using the "one pot" method.
Vineyard also said he knew the items were going to be used to make meth, and was aware that Hatfield manufactured meth at his residence.
Both men face two first-degree drug crime charges for the manufacturing of methamphetamine; each carries a maximum penalty of 30 years in prison and a $1 million fine. A third first-degree charge carries a maximum penalty of 15 years in prison and a $500,00 fine.
Both men also are charged with possession of meth precursors with the intent to manufacture; maximum penalty of 10 years in prison and a $20,000 fine.
Hatfield and Vineyard are being held in the Martin County Jail.