By Dan Nienaber
Free Press Staff Writer
EAGLE LAKE — An Eagle Lake businessman faces a variety of charges after the Minnesota River Valley Drug Task Force searched his house Monday.
A criminal complaint filed against 50-year-old Scott Michael Schaible Wednesday didn’t say what prompted the search at Schaible’s rural residence about two miles east of Eagle Lake. It only says a search warrant was obtained as a result of an ongoing narcotics investigation.
The first search, which was for drugs, started at about 10:30 a.m. However, investigators had to obtain two additional warrants because the search expanded when they found what they suspected was stolen property and child pornography.
Schaible was arrested and appeared in court Wednesday. He posted bond for his release and said he was innocent when he was contacted at the telephone number for his business, American Barnwood. He also said investigators exaggerated about the amount of marijuana allegedly found in his house.
“All I can say is I will be not guilty,” Schaible said.
During the first search, investigators found about 5 pounds of marijuana in a Red Wing style crock in Schaible’s basement, the criminal complaint said. Agents also reported finding a digital scale and baggies, which resulted in Schaible being charged with both possession of a large amount of marijuana and marijuana sales.
As the search for drugs continued, investigators also found several items that matched the description of items that had been reported stolen at various law enforcement agencies in the area. They also found things they suspected had been stolen because the serial numbers had been removed. Another search warrant was obtained before agents searched the entire residence for stolen property.
During that search, the task force and Blue Earth County sheriff’s deputies also found tools that Schaible had recently reported stolen. Schaible is co-owner of American Barnwood, a construction and supply business that uses recovered wood from barns and other buildings to complete siding, floor and building projects.
On Feb. 11, Schaible filed a report with the Blue Earth County Sheriff’s Department that said more than $13,000 in property had been stolen. Investigators also learned Schaible had filed an insurance claim for the lost items.
The third search warrant was obtained after a task force agent started searching Schaible’s computer for evidence related to the drug investigation. He reported finding several downloads that he suspected, due to the titles of the downloads, were child pornography. A complete search and analysis of the computer and digital storage devices found in the house hadn’t been completed before the complaint was filed.
In addition to the drug charges, Schaible is facing felony charges of receiving stolen property, insurance fraud and possession of child pornography. He also is charged with falsely reporting a crime, a misdemeanor.
A felony charge of possession of firearms after being convicted of a crime of violence was included in the charges. The complaint cited a June 2011 conviction for theft of a firearm, which is considered a crime of violence. However, court records show Schaible pleaded guilty to a charge of receiving stolen property for the case that was cited in the complaint.