WINONA — 2014 did not end very well for two Winona women.
Winona County Sheriff's Lead Deputy Jeff Mueller said officers with Winona County Sheriff's Office, the Goodview Police Department and the Southeast Minnesota Narcotics and Gang Task Force went to Lattman Cycle Design & Machining at 740 54th Ave. in Goodview at 11:17 a.m. on Wednesday to execute a search warrant. Mueller said two women at the business were arrested.
One of the two women, Ashley Nicole Thelen, 27, of Winona, was charged Friday with fifth degree felony possession of a control substance. Another woman was also taken into custody, but Mueller said she hadn't been officially charged yet. The Post-Bulletin does not release names until charges are filed. Mueller said the county expects to charge the other woman, who was taken into custody due to an arrest warrant for a different charge, with fifth degree felony possession of a control substance.
At the scene, officers found drug paraphernalia, a trace amount of methamphetamine and two kinds of white powder, which they believe to be alpha-PVP. While little methamphetamine was found, Mueller said any amount could bring felony charges. Alpha-PVP is an illegal synthetic drug, which the National Institutes of Health said is a popular cathinone or "bath salt." It has been used to create the drug "gravel," which can cause massive paranoia.
Mueller said authorities have been tracking the growth of alpha-PVP in the area for a few years. He said Wednesday's arrests are part of a long, ongoing investigation into both Lattman Cycle Design and Thelen, whose Facebook page said she is a personal assistant at the business.
Both women appeared in court on Friday.