Hazardouschemicals discovered; residents evacuated

Hazardouschemicals discovered; residents evacuated by M. Jill Karolevitz Matthew Muilenburg, 24, Vermillion, was arrested on drug charges March 6 after the Vermillion Police Department found a �large quantity of drugs at his home,� said Vermillion Police Chief Bruce Plate.

A secondary find of hazardous chemicals at Muilenburg�s residence also led to the evacuation of the neighborhood near the mobile home in the 900 block of East Duke.

�We were called at 12:20 p.m., initially on a report of domestic violence,� Plate said. �While at the scene, officers saw some psilocybin mushrooms and arrested a 24-year-old male.�

�Psilocybin mushrooms are a schedule one narcotic � they have no medical use,� said Patrol Sergeant Dave Thiese. �It�s a felony to possess them.�

Muilenburg�s wife and three-year-old child were home at the time of arrest.

Muilenburg was charged with felony possession of marijuana, keeping a place for use or sale of a controlled substance, and unauthorized manufacture of a controlled substance, according to Clay County State�s Attorney Tami Bern. He was held at the Clay County Jail on a $10,000 bond and was in the process of bonding out March 7, she said.

Following Muilenburg�s arrest, a search warrant was obtained. It was during the search that officers found a large box containing liquid and powdered chemicals, fuse cord and pipe.

�We felt the contents of the box could be used to make explosives and/or methamphetamine,� Plate said.

The liquids included potassium hydroxide, toluene, acetone, potassium nitrate, reagent alcohol and mouratic acid. Some of the powders were in unlabeled containers.

�These are all hazardous chemicals,� Plate said. �So, for the safety of the neighborhood, residents in the area were evacuated as the search continued. We really didn�t know what we had at that time, or what we would find.�

The Vermillion Fire Department sealed off the street during the search. In addition to the VPD, officers from the federal Drug Enforcement Agency, Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, USD Public Safety, SD Highway Patrol, SD Division of Criminal Investigation and the Clay County Sheriff�s Department were on the scene.

�We also had a chemist from The University of South Dakota there to help us identify the chemicals,� Plate said.

Area residents were able to return home at about 5:30 p.m.

No charges have been filed on the chemicals and other materials found in the box, he added.

�It�s not illegal to own then, unless you are using them to do something illegal,� Plate said.

A large quantity of other drugs were found at the residence, in addition to the psilocybin mushrooms, he added. Other arrests may follow.

Another drug arrest was made by the VPD March 2 in an unrelated incident.

�Just before 6 p.m. last Friday, we assisted the DCI in executing a search warrant in 100 block of Walnut Street,� Plate said. �Marijuana, substances believed to be methamphetamine, scales and other drug paraphernalia were found.

As a result, Cimarron Conn and Amanda Highrocke, both 21, were arrested for possession of a controlled substance, possession of marijuana (more than two ounces, but less than one-half pound), keeping a place for use or sale of a controlled substance, and possession of drug paraphernalia. With the exception of the possession of drug paraphernalia, all are felony charges, Bern said.

Conn appeared before Judge Mary Dell Cody March 6. Highrocke�s first court appearance has yet to be held.

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