2 plead not guilty to drug charges

Published 9:55 am Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Two Olmsted County residents pleaded not guilty to drug charges in Mower County court Monday after an Aug. 10 traffic stop uncovered more than 47 grams of three different drugs, prescription pills and several drug paraphernalia items.

Jeff Anthony Ward, 48, of Rochester and Caitlin Jo Johnston, 19, of Stewartville both face a felony charge for second-degree possession of more than 25 grams of cocaine or meth, while Johnston also faces a gross misdemeanor charge for fifth-degree drug possession and two misdemeanors: possession of more than 1.4 grams of marijuana in a vehicle and fourth-degree DWI.

According to a court complaint, Mower County deputies pulled over the two at 1:17 a.m. on Aug. 10 in a 1999 Chevy Silverado after clocking it going 53 mph in a 70 mph zone on Interstate 90 and driving over the fog line.

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Johnston, the driver, complained her poor driving was due to her being tired and bothered by other headlights, but deputies observed signs she may have been under the influence of a controlled substance.

Ward began sweating heavily and answering questions directed at Johnston, his girlfriend, while denying they were using drugs. Johnston said they were headed to Sturgis, South Dakota.

She failed three of four field sobriety tests and was detained.

Deputies found $5,746 in Ward’s pockets and 23.29 grams of methamphetamine and 2.8 grams of cocaine in the glove compartment.

Upon further searching the truck, deputies found Johnston’s purse, which contained 17.3 grams of marijuana, two marijuana pipes, several marijuana roaches, Alprazolam pills and other prescription drugs.

Then officers found a leopardskin print case with 3.8 grams of marijuana, rolling papers and a snorting tube.

Ward was also detained and both were taken to the Mower County jail

Ward and Johnston are both scheduled for Feb. 10, 2017, pretrials and Feb. 21, 2017 trials.