What appears to be a major drug, bath salts operation uncovered here|
Area law officers may have gotten the break they needed in shutting down a major bath salt operation with the arrest of a former Antigo woman and the subsequent search of an Aniwa area residence.
Criminal charges are still pending against individuals whose Shawano County home was raided Tuesday but officials stress that the allegations are serious and may link those involved to the distribution of large quantities of the drug which has run rampant through the area over the last several months.
Today, a self-described bath salt dealer made her first appearance in Langlade County Circuit Court.
Taylor Lowell, 23, was ordered held in the local lockup on a $5,000 cash bond where she will await prosecution on six criminal charges, the most serious being distribution of a hazardous substance. She is also accused of possession with intent to deliver narcotics as well as additional counts linked to her Dec. 10 arrest.
A probation hold will keep her in custody even if she posts bond. She is scheduled to return to court on Monday.
Lowell, who now lists her residence as Rosholt, was taken into custody after the vehicle she was a passenger in was stopped by a Langlade County sheriff’s deputy early Tuesday morning. The driver was wanted on various drug-related warrants and Lowell was out of custody on bail for previous drug charges.
During the arrest, correction officers found evidence of drug use in Lowell’s possession but the investigation quickly picked up as the day wore on.
According to a criminal complaint drawn by District Attorney Ralph Uttke, Lowell identified her supplier and told a sheriff’s deputy that she was the woman’s “number one distributor of bath salts.”
She detailed her dealings with the woman, indicating that she would “normally receive 50 grams of bath salts to distribute.” Lowell said she would pay for the salts with cash or in trade with prescription medication. She said their latest dealing was on Monday with Lowell receiving an estimated 20 to 40 grams of the salts. She told officials that the white powdery substance taken from her while in the jail was the “remaining portion” of what her supplier had given her.
The information triggered a call to Shawano County and within hours, law officers, including those from Langlade County and the Antigo Police Department, visited the Aniwa home with a warrant in hand.
According to Shawano officials, the four and a half hour search yielded evidence of drug use as well as a supply of firearms, some of them loaded. Officials said the residence was equipped with surveillance equipment. It also had a fortified door through which officials forced entry after a man inside the home refused to comply.
The man, age 42, was taken into custody on charges which include the keeping of a drug house as well as possession of suspected bath salts and marijuana.
A woman who also allegedly resided at the home was already in custody on a probation hold and is awaiting formal charges.
Shawano officials said that in addition to local charges, the case is also being forwarded to the U.S. Attorney’s Office and the Federal Drug Enforcement Administration for review.
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