FAIRMONT - Two Ceylon men - Gerald Lee Simmons Sr., 54, and Daniel Eugene Vinyard, 27 - face charges of possession of precursors with the intent to manufacture methamphetamine.
According to information from the Martin County Sheriff's Office:
On Monday, an off-duty Martin County Sheriff's Deputy in Iowa saw a vehicle being driven by Vinyard. The deputy knew there was a warrant for Vinyard's arrest and that his driver's license was revoked. There also had been information provided to the sheriff's office about Vinyard's involvement in the manufacturing of methamphetamine. The deputy contacted local law enforcement when he noticed the vehicle was headed toward Ceylon.
The deputy went on-duty and got his squad car and attempted to find Vinyard. He located the vehicle parked by a culvert on 122nd Street and saw three individuals, including Vinyard. The deputy was able to identify Simmons and the third as a 21-year old woman who is not charged at this time.
As the deputy approached in his squad car, all three individuals fled in different directions.
Vinyard had crawled into the culvert under the road. When he crawled out, the deputy informed him of the warrant for his arrest.
A pipe believed to be used for drugs was found, and Vinyard admitted the three had smoked marijuana that day. Consent was given to search the vehicle, and a pop bottle with a blue-green fluid inside was found that was believed to be lantern fuel. Also found were instant ice compresses, a small baggie with an unknown white substance, and several other items sometimes used in manufacturing meth.
By the opening of the culvert was the top of a lithium battery container and other plastic pop bottles, which are used in the "one pot" manufacturing method of meth.
Simmons told the deputy that Vinyard had just picked him up, but the deputy had seen three people in the vehicle in Iowa. Simmons then said the items found were divided among the three of them, such as the ice compresses were for Vinyard's back, and that the white substance was salt. Simmons later admitted that a marijuana joint found hidden nearby was his. He said the lantern fuel was Vinyard's and that he had given it to him because he was going to go camping.
All three said they had stopped at the culvert in an attempt to catch minnows for fishing. However, no one had any fishing poles, nets or other equipment usually used to fish.
In Vinyard's statement to police, he said all three of them had smoked marijuana in Estherville. He said the woman was his girlfriend and she did not like meth, so he and Simmons had a secret conversation after Simmons showed him a meth pipe. He denied possessing any meth manufacturing items except for the ice packs for his back. But in a second interview, he admitted that in the past he had purchased meth precursors in exchange for meth, and had witnessed it being made, but never made it on his own. He later said the deal was to take the items to Fairmont for manufacturing, and then he would get some meth in return.
Both Simmons and Vinyard tested positive for methamphetamine when booked into jail. The pipe found also tested positive for meth residue.
Vinyard and Simmons are charged with possession of meth precursors with the intent to manufacture; maximum penalty of 10 years in prison and a $20,000 fine.
Simmons faces additional charges of fifth-degree controlled substance crime; maximum penalty of five years in prison and a $10,000 fine, along with possession of a small amount of marijuana and drug paraphernalia.