Weather Forecast


Fire, front-end loaders and felonies

An incident that started with a fire and included a confrontation between police and a man on a front-end loader has led to felony drug charges against a 63-year-old Farmington man.

Police responded the fire report Jan. 24 and found an individual driving heavy equipment in the area of the pole barn that was burning. According to a complaint filed last week in the Dakota County Attorney's office police told the man they could not fight the fire until he stopped the equipment. But the man continued to drive around, flipping and dragging burning items. He also reportedly yelled at firefighters to get off of his property and nearly hit several police officers with the bucket of the front-end loader before driving to a home on the property and going inside.

Police were clearing the home of other occupants when they found Ronald Ervin Lubecke in an upstairs bedroom. The screen was off of his window and the window was half open. According to the complaint Lubecke told police he'd been asleep and hadn't heard the commotion outside, but the window screen was on his bed.

On the ground outside Lubecke's window police found a methamphetamine pipe.

If convicted on a felony drug charge Lubecke could face up to five years in jail and fines of up to $10,000. A petty misdemeanor charge for possessing drug paraphernalia carries a maximum fine of $300.

Man charged after traffic stop

A 29-year-old Long Prairie man is in trouble with the law after police found him with methamphetamine in his car.

A Dakota County Sheriff's deputy stopped Chad Wenger shortly before 11 p.m. April 18 in Hampton Township for driving with a burned-out headlight.

According to a complaint filed in the Dakota County Attorney's office Wenger appeared "fidgety and nervous" as he spoke to the deputy. The deputy noticed what appeared to be a methamphetamine pipe on the floor behind the driver's seat.

Wenger failed field sobriety tests and was arrested. During a search of the car the deputy found two methamphetamine pipes and a plastic bag that contained .41 grams of methamphetamine. In another spot he found a bag that contained .32 grams of the drug.

Wenger refused to take a drug test. He was convicted of a fifth degree drug crime in December of 2009. His driver's license was suspended in March for driving after withdrawal for the second time. His driving privileges were revoked in February for selling or possessing a controlled substance and he was convicted in December of 2009 of driving while under the influence of a controlled substance.

This time around Wenger faces a felony drug charge that carries a maximum sentence of 10 years and a maximum fine of $20,000. Gross misdemeanor charges of refusing to submit to an impaired driving test and of driving while impaired each carry a maximum sentence of one year and maximum fines of $3,000.

Nathan Hansen

Nathan Hansen has been a reporter and editor with the Farmington Independent and the Rosemount Town Pages since 1997. He is very tall.

(651) 460-6606