The Free Press, Mankato, MN

June 26, 2013

Child found watching movie during drug bust

Barn searched after informant bought $625 worth of meth

By Dan Nienaber
dnienaber@mankatofreepress.com

---- — MADISON LAKE — A Madison Lake man arrested because investigators suspect he was selling methamphetamine is facing additional charges for allegedly threatening to kill the "snitch" and having a child watching a television in a nearby car while dealing and using the drug.

Charles Elden Stanke's residence east of Madison Lake was searched last week after drug investigators used an informant to buy about seven grams of methamphetamine for $625, according to a criminal complaint filed Monday in Blue Earth County District Court. Stanke, 27, and 25-year-old Jennifer Lynn Bartelt of Waseca were arrested during the search.

Within a few days before the search, investigators with the Minnesota River Valley Drug Task Force arranged the drug deal with the informant. The informant reported buying the meth while meeting Stanke and Bartlet in a barn at the residence. A young girl, who investigators suspect is about 6 years old, also was in the area, the informant reported.

After setting up the deal with the informant, investigators learned Stanke had planned another drug sale at his residence. So a search warrant was obtained and task force investigators arrived at about 12:30 a.m. Friday to do a search.

A bag with about 11 more grams of meth, a digital scale and several small baggies often used to package the drug were found in a workbench, the complaint said. Investigators also confiscated a glass pipe, which was still warm and sitting on a stool between Stanke and Bartlet.

During his arrest, Stanke allegedly said "Who's the snitch? Who did me" and threatened to "kill them," according to the complaint. The agents also found an extension cord leading to a car parked about 20 feet away from where the arrests took place and where the drugs were found. It was connected to a television in the car.

Bartelt's daughter was found in the back seat of the car watching a movie on the television. A suspected meth pipe also was found, within a foot of the child, inside an arm rest in the car.

Another pipe, suspected drug ledgers, containers with meth and marijuana residue, a "burner" cellphone and a camera also were confiscated during the search.

Both Stanke and Bartelt have been charged with first-degree drug sales, second-degree drug possession, child endangerment and storing methamphetamine paraphernalia in the presence of a child. Stanke, who has at least three previous drug-related convictions, is facing and additional felony charge of making terroristic threats.

When they appeared in court Monday, Stanke's bail was set $100,000 and Bartelt's bail was set at $50,000.