Comments Off on Bonds set at $100K for prime suspects in historic Sioux Falls meth bust

Bond has been set at $100,000 cash or surety for the two prime suspects in what Sioux Falls Police Chief Doug Barthel called the largest meth bust in the city’s history. 

Regina Renee Johnson and Robert Raymond Jackson, both 42, appeared in court Thursday afternoon on charges of distribution and possession of a controlled substance, marijuana and drug paraphernalia. 

Officers found 8.8 pounds of methamphetamine, sale sheets and $3,000 in cash in Johnson’s vehicle during a traffic stop Wednesday. 

Regina Johnson, Austin Dalstead and Robert Jackson are escorted into Minnehaha County Court in Sioux Falls, S.D. Thursday, March 28, 2013.

Regina Johnson, Austin Dalstead and Robert Jackson are escorted into Minnehaha County Court in Sioux Falls, S.D. Thursday, March 28, 2013.

A motel manager alerted police to their suspicions about Johnson when she called and asked to return to a room she’d rented the night before to retrieve property in what Barthel characterized as a suspicious manner. 

“She was persistent, kept saying she wanted to get in there and finally told them she had left some money in there under the mattress,” Barthel said. “They were obviously suspicious of that and notified police.” 

After the traffic stop, officers searched the room and found $87,340 in cash hidden under a mattress. At the couple’s home on the 1400 block of N. 61st Street, they found another 14.1 grams of methamphetamine and pipes that tested positive for meth.

They also found Johnson’s son in the house. Austin Jon Dalstead, 19, was charged with the same crimes as his mother. 

Minnehaha County Deputy State’s Attorney Amanda Eden asked Judge John Hinrichs for a $100,000 cash-only bond for the couple, citing their criminal histories and the massive amount of methamphetamine seized. 

Johnson has three convictions for possession of a controlled substance on her 16-page South Dakota criminal history, the most recent of which took place in 2008. 

Minnehaha County Deputy Public Defender Molly Quinn argued for a lower bond, saying the safety risk to the community is minimal. 

“I would note to the court that there’s not a danger of violence to the community in terms of Mrs. Johnson,” Quinn said. 

Quinn also pointed out that Johnson and Jackson have no history of missing court. 

Ultimately, Hinrichs set the bond as cash or surety, meaning they could pay a portion to be released. 

“It’s a compelling case and extraordinarily serious charges,” Hinrichs said. 

Dalstead’s bond was set significantly lower, at $10,000 cash or surety, based on his tenuous connection to the bulk of the drugs, which were seized in a traffic stop from an SUV he wasn’t in. 

“Is there anything, other than the fact that he resides with the co-defendants, that he has any connection to the drugs or cash that were found in the vehicle?” Hinrichs asked at one point.



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