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North Dakota woman pleads not guilty to meth charges

A North Dakota woman entered a plea of not guilty on numerous charges related to alleged possession and use of methamphetamine in Northeast Judicial District Court on June 4. On the same day, a North Dakota Bureau of Criminal Investigation special agent offered testimony at a preliminary probable cause hearing.

The special agent stated that he and several other law enforcement officers, including members of the Rugby Police, Border Patrol and the Bureau of Criminal Investigation, executed a search of the 33-year-old woman's home on March 5. The agent claimed that law enforcement discovered a large quantity of methamphetamine as well as smoking paraphernalia and scales in the course of the search.

The woman was detained on numerous drug charges stemming from the search. The most serious of these is possession of a controlled substance (methamphetamine) with intent to deliver, which is categorized as a Class AA felony, punishable by a potential prison term of life without parole. She was also charged with three Class C felonies, including maintaining a dwelling for persons illegally using controlled substances, possession of drug paraphernalia and child endangerment, as her house was located near a school. Each of these charges is punishable by a prison term of up to five years, a fine of $10,000 or both.

A defense attorney in this case would likely review the legality of the search as well as the propriety of any warrant used to execute the search, since the bulk of evidence in the case was discovered through the search. If the attorney was unable to detect legal flaws in the search, he or she might instead attempt to arrange a plea bargain to prevent the defendant from receiving a life sentence.

Source: Pierce County Tribune, "Mattern appears on meth charges", June 06, 2014

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