FAIRMONT - Four Ceylon residents face first-degree drug charges for allegedly manufacturing methamphetamine at a Ceylon home.
According to information from the Martin County Sheriff's Office:
On Nov. 7, police were contacted by Benjamin Louis Lubben, 26, who wanted to inform officials of the whereabouts of his brother, Dustin Wayne Lubben, 27. Dustin Lubben had a felony warrant out for his arrest. Benjamin Lubben told officials that Dustin Lubben was staying at the Ceylon residence of Ryan Ray Menssen, 39, and Rachel Ruth Menssen, 32. Benjamin Lubben said meth manufacturing was occurring at the residence, where there were three children, all minors.
A Martin County deputy did some surveillance of the residence, and observed Benjamin Lubben leave the residence with two large backpacks and later return to the residence.
The Minnesota River Valley Drug Task Force and Human Services were called. On Nov. 8, officials went to the Menssen residence, where they observed surveillance cameras outside the house, along with a fire ring around the house that was made from burning garbage. The Menssens did not allow officials into the house to check on the children. However, one of the children opened a window and told officials that Dustin Lubben was hiding in the basement.
As officials obtained a search warrant, Ryan Menssen said law enforcement could check for Dustin Lubben because he escaped out a basement window. Inside the front porch area, police could see a plastic soda bottle with a white crystal residue inside, possibly the "one-pot" manufacturing of meth. Also in plain view were several propane containers in a bedroom, drug paraphernalia on a coffee table and a baggie of what appeared to by synthetic marijuana. Officials noted the house was in unlivable condition, with raw sewage in the basement and animal feces throughout.
Dustin Lubben was located hiding in a cistern outside the back of the residence and placed under arrest. The three minor children who lived in the residence were taken into custody.
Once the search warrant on the residence was executed, the soda bottle initially found on the porch tested positive for meth. A second soda bottle with residue found nearby also tested positive for meth.
Both Ryan and Rachel Menssen were arrested, along with Dustin Lubben.
In police interviews, Ryan Menssen claimed he didn't know anything about meth manufacturing, although he knew that Dustin Lubben knew how to cook meth. Ryan Menssen also claimed he did not believe there was meth manufactured at his house.
In a second interview on Nov. 9, Ryan Menssen said his wife Rachel did not know anything about manufacturing meth and he didn't want her to face charges. Ryan Menssen then admitted he and the Lubbens had manufactured meth at the house, but only when the children were gone or asleep. Ryan Menssen admitted he purchased pills or got his wife to purchase the pills without her knowing what the pills were for. Ryan Menssen also admitted to using meth.
Rachel Menssen and Dustin Lubben both refused to speak to police.
Benjamin Lubben was located and arrested Nov. 9.
All four face three counts of first-degree manufacturing of methamphetamine; each charge carries a maximum penalty of 30 years in prison and a $1 million fine.
The Menssens face additional charges of possession of meth precursors with intent to manufacture, maximum penalty of 10 years in prison and a $20,000 fine; manufacturing meth in the presence of a child, maximum penalty of five years in prison and a $10,000 fine; aiding an offender, maximum penalty of three years in prison and a $5,000 fine; and neglect or endangerment of a child, maximum penalty of a year in jail and a $3,000 fine.
Dustin Lubben faces additional charges of possession of meth precursors and manufacturing meth in the presence of a child, along with misdemeanor counts of fleeing police and obstructing the legal process.