Anonymous tips lead to arrest of couple

Jul. 10—LAKEFIELD — A serious of six tips from the public provided between December 2020 and June 2021 have resulted in the arrest of two Lakefield residents for crimes related to methamphetamine.

All six concerned citizens reported that Lucas Hohenstein, 37, was selling meth out of his home, including several notations that it was a large amount of meth being sold.

On June 25, the Jackson County Sheriff's Office conducted a "trash pull" on Hohenstein's residence. A trash pull is an investigative maneuver that is legal without a warrant. It means that when a trash bin is set out at the curb, the sheriff's office ordered the garbage company to bring Hohenstein's bin to them. The officer collected the contents of Hohenstein's trash and searched through it.

Inside the trash, the sheriff's office reportedly discovered numerous plastic bags of varying sizes, which the officer believed to indicate that large quantities of narcotics were being moved through Hohenstein's home, and a glass pipe with residue that field-tested positive for meth.

Based on these findings, officers requested and executed a warrant on Hohenstein's residence July 2. They observed an area of the garage that had a couch and coffee table, and believed that area to be used for distributing and using narcotics. Inside a freezer, police found crystal rock-like substance that field-tested positive for meth, and weighed 4.6 grams. They also found many more plastic bags, a scale disguised as a computer mouse, other drug paraphernalia and a ledger of dollar amounts.

Officers were suspicious of the fact that Hohenstein had a security system installed, believing that to be a sign that he was dealing drugs, since drug dealers like to see who's coming and going. They also found a cash band and inferred that Hohenstein had had a stack of $100 bills, which they also believed to be a sign of dealing drugs, since drug dealers often carry large amounts of cash.

Other than the 4.6 grams of meth, no additional narcotics or illegal substances were discovered. However, because Hohenstein lives in a park zone, the crime is considered more serious. He was arrested and charged with third-degree controlled substance crime, a felony that carries a maximum possible sentence of 20 years in prison and/or a $250,000 fine.

He is being held in police custody on bail set at $15,000 with conditions or $70,000 without. His initial court appearance is scheduled for Wednesday.

Police also arrested Hohenstein's wife, Laura, 36, because one of the anonymous tips stated that she knew about her husband's activity and hadn't reported it, and because they had found mail addressed to her in the trash and in the house. She was charged with aiding and advising third-degree controlled substance crime and also faces a maximum possible sentence of 20 years in prison and/or a $250,000 fine.

If convicted, the Hohensteins will be sentenced based on criminal history.

Laura was released Tuesday on conditional bail at no cost.