Two men face drug charges following raid

Published 7:17 am Friday, April 9, 2010

Two men were charged Thursday with multiple felony drug crimes following a police raid earlier this week — a search that was triggered by a drug sale to a police informant.

Jesse Lynn Devriendt, 30, and Juan Irlas, 37, each face several counts of second- and third-degree drug possession and sales. In addition, the two both face charges for illegal weapons possession, as they each have previously been convicted of felonies, prohibiting them from owning a stun gun or brass knuckles — both of which were found during the search.

Also, because the property that was searched — 811 Third St. NW — is within 300 feet of Pickett Place, the two also face felony charges for selling narcotics in a public housing zone.

According to a police report, the search occurred at around 7:05 a.m. on Tuesday. Officers from the Austin Police Department, the Mower County Sheriff’s Office and the Southeast Minnesota Narcotics and Gang Task Force entered through the front door and found Irlas and Devriendt, as well as another man who has not been charged, on a living room couch. Irlas and Devriendt were arrested without incident.

Officers also had to ward off two pitbulls. Using short bursts from a fire extinguisher, they were able to coax the dogs into a bathroom and shut the door.

After arresting the two defendants and securing the dogs, authorities then searched the residence. In the living room, they found just less than 3 grams of meth, packed into several tightly folded pieces of paper called “bindles.” Officers also found a few used meth pipes under where Irlas had been sitting.

No other items were seized during the search, and there were no apparent signs that the two were manufacturing meth, according to the Austin Police Department.

Several weeks before the search, the APD was notified of a pending drug sale between Devriendt and a confidential informant. The informant planned to meet Devriendt at his residence — the same house that was later searched — on March 9 at 11 p.m. Wearing a wireless transmitter, the informant entered the home at the scheduled date and time.

Police observed two cars leave the property shortly thereafter, and they were able to hear discussion from inside the house about a 38-year-old man going to retrieve drugs for the informant. The informant also later told police that several people were buying drugs from the man before he left the property, according to a criminal complaint. That man is the same person who allegedly fled from Austin police in a vehicle Wednesday night in a separate incident, eventually getting arrested in Freeborn County. He has yet to be charged in either case.

When the 38-year-old man returned to Devriendt’s residence on March 9, he came with Irlas, the complaint states. He then sold roughly 4 grams of meth to the informant for $400. The complaint states that Devriendt took a small amount of the drug as “payment” for arranging the deal between the informant and the 38-year-old man. Devriendt also told the informant that he owed the 38-year-old man for drugs he bought from him, but “hooked” him up with new customers as a way to repay him.

Devriendt and Irlas are both in custody on $500,000 bail, or $200,000 with court conditions. The two are scheduled for arraignment on April 22.