Man pleads not guilty to charges following November police raid

Published 12:28 pm Saturday, March 13, 2010

An Austin man charged with receiving stolen property and drug possession following a raid of his business last November pleaded not guilty to four felony-level criminal counts Thursday.

John Herbert Merten, 33, is scheduled for a pre-trial hearing May 5. His trial would then begin May 17.

According to a criminal complaint, police searched Merten’s 1117 Fifth Place SE residence on the morning of Nov. 11. Inside the residence, which also housed his business, Alterior Motives, police found drug paraphernalia, 2.3 grams of meth, and three missing shotguns and their cases.

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Authorities also seized two cell phones and $86 cash during the raid, the complaint states. Merten was arrested during the search but later released.

Police determined that the shotguns had all been stolen during a burglary around the same time of the search, although specifics of that incident were not given in the complaint.

According to records, Merten has a previous felony conviction for a fifth-degree drug crime from 2008 in Mower County.