Isle resident pleads guilty to charges in Blomkest meth case
WILLMAR -- Jeffrey Elton Schmiege, 38, of Isle, pleaded guilty Monday to two felony charges for aiding and abetting/possessing methamphetamine precursors with intent to manufacture and tampering with anhydrous ammonia equipment on Oct. 15 at the ...
WILLMAR -- Jeffrey Elton Schmiege, 38, of Isle, pleaded guilty Monday to two felony charges for aiding and abetting/possessing methamphetamine precursors with intent to manufacture and tampering with anhydrous ammonia equipment on Oct. 15 at the Blomkest Fertilizer plant.
As part of a plea agreement reached in Kandiyohi County District Court, four other felony charges and four misdemeanor charges will be dismissed. Schmiege's sentencing date has not been set. The matter had been set for jury trial Thursday be-fore District Judge Mi-chael J. Thompson.
The ch-arges were filed after Schmiege and David Wayne Opsahl, 35, of Big Lake, were arrested by Kandiyohi County sheriff's deputies in the early morning hours of Oct. 15. A deputy on patrol spotted them walking away from the fertilizer plant.
They told the officer they were looking for a gas station, but they did not have a gas receptacle in hand. Deputies and agents from the CEE-VI Drug Task Force found that an anhydrous tank at the plant had been tampered with and was leaking, found a 10-pound air tank containing anhydrous next to a telephone pole nearby and a trail of pieces of duct tape, gloves and tubing between the plant and the tank. Opsahl had also used duct tape to mend his ripped pants.
Opsahl was convicted in a jury trial on Jan. 24 of three felony charges of possessing meth precursors, tampering with equipment and stealing anhydrous ammonia, plus misdemeanors for theft and property damage. He will be sentenced Feb. 27.
First Assistant County Attorney Connie Crowell estimated that Schmiege will be sentenced to serve between 41 and 57 months in prison. On Monday, she said she was happy with the plea because Schmiege will serve prison time.
Schmiege has three controlled substance convictions in Minnesota: a fifth-degree conviction in 1999, a first-degree conviction in 2002 in Sherburne County, and a 2003 conviction in Grant County.
He was also convicted of a federal charge and served a prison sentence for methamphetamine possession in 2000.