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Three arrested in Hy-Vee parking lot brings meth-related charges

Published: Wednesday, March 28, 2012 5:46 p.m. CST • Updated: Thursday, March 29, 2012 12:18 p.m. CST

Three Colfax residents who were arrested Tuesday night in connection with the manufacturing of methamphetamine are free on bond this morning. The subjects were apprehended after two of the individuals became involved in a physical altercation in the Newton Hy-Vee parking lot.

According to Jasper County District Court documents, 24-year-old Natasha J. Cooper, 29-year-old Jessica L. Richard and 26-year-old Lucas A. Johnson all were charged with possession of a precursor to methamphetamine with intent to manufacture.

Witnesses at the scene said that Newton police and Jasper County Sheriff’s deputies arrived at Hy-Vee around 9:20 p.m. Two store employees reported the incident while observing one female and a male enter into a physical altercation inside their parked SUV.

A Hy-Vee employee witnessed the fight and was one of the workers who made the 911 call. She said Wednesday that the male and female were hitting each other in the vehicle and throwing objects out the window which broke on the pavement.

“They were cursing profanities,” she said. “The car was rocking back and forth they were hitting each other so hard.”

A spokesperson from the Newton Police Department said Wednesday that an official report for the incident was not yet available, and authorities could not verify Wednesday which subjects were involved in the physical altercation. But court documents indicate that Richard, Cooper and Johnson all were in the SUV when officers arrived on scene.

Official charges by the Jasper County Attorney’s office state that pseudoephedrine, an ingredient in the manufacturing of meth, was found during a search of the trio’s vehicle. “The M.I.N.E. (Drug) Task Force had previously received information that associates of individuals located in the vehicle are manufacturing methamphetamine on a frequent basis,” the documents read. “A check of the defendant’s and other co-conspirators pseudoephedrine logs shows a purchase history consistent with that of an individual purchasing pseudoephedrine pills for the purpose of manufacturing methamphetamine.”

All three subjects were arrested at 11:12 p.m and taken to the Jasper County Jail. Cooper is facing an additional charge of unlawful possession of a prescription drug after police found two pills of Nabumetone during the investigation. Cooper and Johnson posted a $1,000 bond Wednesday, and Richard was also released Wednesday on a $2,500 bond. All three subjects have preliminary hearings scheduled at 9 a.m. April 2.     

Mike Mendenhall can be contacted at (641) 792-3121 ext. 422 or via email at mmendenhall@newtondailynews.com.