By Dan Nienaber
---- — MANKATO — A Windom man who failed to appear for a sentencing hearing in Blue Earth County after reaching a plea deal in a felony drug possession case is facing new charges in Nicollet County after investigators linked him to a car that was being used for a mobile methamphetamine lab.
Jason Scott Feller, 38, is in prison in St. Cloud serving a January sentence for the drug possession charge. He was arrested Nov. 25 in Jackson County while officers executing a search warrant found a quarter pound of suspected methamphetamine. About three weeks earlier four people were arrested at the Judson boat landing in Nicollet County after a sheriff's deputy on routine patrol found a mobile methamphetamine lab in the trunk of the car they were in.
Feller wasn't there, but a deputy checked the license plate of the car and talked to the registered owner. She told the deputy she had sold the car to Feller.
Agents with the Minnesota River Valley Drug Task Force took over the investigation after the lab was found. A cellphone taken from one of the men arrested, 38-year-old Christopher Chapman Hacker of Janesville, was searched. The agent reported finding a phone number on Hacker's phone that was for one of three cellphones found in Feller's possession when he was arrested in Jackson County.
Investigators suspect text messages that were exchanged between the phone found with Hacker and the phone found with Feller were about gathering ingredients to make methamphetamine. There also were 11 calls between the two phones. The texts and calls took place Nov. 2, the day before the meth lab was found, according to a criminal complaint filed in Nicollet County District Court.
A task force agent also interviewed Shailyn Anne Petersen, 23, of Madison Lake, one of the other people arrested after the lab was found. She said she first met Feller when she and Hacker met him near Seven Mile Creek County Park to buy methamphetamine. Petersen had called Feller prior to her arrest and he said he was working with Hacker to gather methamphetamine ingredients. He also allegedly told her he was going to let Hacker use his car for the cook, she reported.
Feller was scheduled to be in Blue Earth County District Court for sentencing for the earlier possession charge on Nov. 25. Judge Krista Jass issued a warrant for his arrest after he failed to appear. That warrant was used to take Feller into custody when he was found in Jackson County.
In addition to the possession charge that stemmed from a June 25, 2012, incident, Feller also faced felony drug and criminal sexual conduct charges for an incident in March. A woman reported she had been sexually assaulted by Feller in Mankato after a mutual friend arranged for Feller to give her a ride from St. Cloud. She also told police they stopped in New Ulm to smoke methamphetamine.
Those charges were dismissed Oct. 7, the same day Feller pleaded guilty to the possession charge.
Hacker pleaded guilty to a felony second-degree drug possession charge Jan. 24. A more serious charge of manufacturing methamphetamine and a second possession charge were dismissed in exchange for his plea. He was sentenced to three years in prison.
Peterson pleaded guilty to a felony charge of possession of products used to manufacture methamphetamine on Dec. 10. She was sentenced on Feb. 12 to the 55 days she had already served in jail, fined $1,000 and placed on five years probation with several conditions. Those conditions include completing chemical treatment and Nicollet County drug court.
The other person arrested at the Judson boat landing was Kyle Guyer, 20, of Nicollet. Guyer posted a bond for his release Nov. 12. His next court hearing is scheduled for March 4.