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Crookston Times - Crookston, MN
  • East Grand Forks man gets 86 months for meth crimes

  • Pair accused of operating a mobile lab.
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  • A 27-year-old East Grand Forks man was recently sentenced to 86 months in the St. Cloud Minnesota Correctional Facility for first degree manufacturing of methamphetamine. Joseph Stanley Austreng and 46-year-old James Michael Richter were accused of operating a "mobile" meth lab out of Richter's Jeep in February 2014 after a probation search led to the discovery.
    According to the complaint, Officer Aeisso Schrage of the East Grand Forks Police Department approached the home of James Michael Richter on February 19 to do a probation search when he saw a Jeep drive away from the residence. Schrage pulled the Jeep over and found the driver was Richter and the passenger was Austreng. Other officers arrived at the scene to assist with the search and Richter stated that "everything you want is in the Jeep." Officer Scott Jordheim looked inside the Jeep and saw what appeared to be a mobile methamphetamine laboratory, said the complaint. Austreng confirmed to the officers that it was a meth lab.
    Officers searching the Jeep discovered a bag containing aluminum foil, Drano crystals, a funnel with white residue in it, a Ziploc bag with an empty blister pack, lithium battery strips, a grinder with residue on it, an empty lighter fluid container, several baggies with residue on them, a bag containing a pop bottle with tubing, coffee filters, one coffee filter with pink residue on it and more containers and bags with residue on them, said the complaint. Officers placed Richter and Austreng under arrest and transported them to the East Grand Forks Police Department. According to the complaint, Officer Jordheim searched Austreng at the Police Department and discovered a coffee filter with white powder in it, two glass pipes, two knives, and a cell phone. Jordheim later field-tested a portion of the powder from the coffee filter and it tested positive for methamphetamine.
    EGFPD Officer Schrage went back to Richter's home and spoke to Richter's mother who allowed officers to search the residence. They discovered a piece of tinfoil with burn marks on it, razor blades, a garbage bag containing baggies with corners cut off them, syringes, bottle caps, cotton swabs and receipts for several items that could be used to make meth, said the complaint.
    Officers later interviewed Richter who stated that Austreng had been selling meth with another person recently. He said that they sometimes sold two "8 balls" per day and Austreng learned how to make meth in Michigan. Richter also stated that Austreng's wife gave cold meds to Austreng to make meth, said the complaint. Officers then interviewed Austreng who said he, his wife and Richter each purchased cold meds that morning to make meth. Austreng said the most meth he's ever made was 10.5 grams, that he's cooked it at least four or five times and that he has "cooked" meth at Richter's house once before.
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