Suspects in meth ring plead not guilty

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All four players in an alleged small methamphetamine ring as well as a believed user caught in the crossfire have pleaded not guilty to the charges against them.

Jonathan and Rachel Kemppainen, 35 and 37, respectively, are charged with felony operation of an unlawful clandestine laboratory.

According to a court document, the Northwest Drug Task Force had received information about two meth manufacturing operations in Flathead County, and a subsequent investigation of pseudoephedrine sales led agents to the Kemppainens. Jonathan had been accused of making the drug using the “one-pot” method.

Further investigation of the Kemppainens and a search of Jonathan’s parents’ property allegedly uncovered a great amount of trash related to the manufacturing of meth in a dog kennel on the property.

Rachel allegedly agreed to speak without an attorney present, admitting to purchasing the pseudoephedrine that she then gave to her husband as well as Christin Stordalen, 28, to use to make meth.

Stordalen and his girlfriend, Mysterie Callihan, 34, are charged with felony counts of operation of an unlawful clandestine laboratory and criminal possession with intent to distribute. Heather Piland (formerly Faller), 39, is charged with one felony count and one misdemeanor count of criminal possession of dangerous drugs.

Stordalen, Callihan, and Piland entered not guilty pleas on June 13 in Flathead District Court.

According to another court document, the task force received a tip that Stordalen also was manufacturing meth using the “one-pot, shake and bake” method and that he burned all the leftover chemicals and packaging after “cooking.”

Callihan allegedly was seen outside the couple’s home — also the home of Callihan’s 11- and 15-year-old daughters — putting several items in a burn barrel that created a flash of flames that extended above the top of the barrel.

During a search of the home on May 21, Stordalen allegedly was caught trying to flush plastic bags of meth down the toilet. A second man was caught trying to run out the back door of the residence and Piland was located at her vehicle in the driveway.

The man was later taken into custody on an unrelated warrant.

The search also turned up numerous items used in the manufacture of meth, including chemicals, tubing and a generator, as well as several bags of meth, according to the document.

Callihan allegedly agreed to speak to the agents without an attorney present, admitting using roughly one gram of meth each day.

Piland gave an agent permission to search her vehicle, and he allegedly found a small container of marijuana and two jewel bags containing meth.

If convicted of their charges, the Kemppainens each face up to 40 years in prison and fines of up to $25,000.

Jonathan is currently incarcerated in the Flathead County Detention Center, where his bond is set at $50,000. Rachel is currently released on informal house arrest. Both have hearings set for Aug. 28.

If convicted of all their charges, Stordalen and Callihan face up to 70 years in prison and fines of up to $100,000. Both are currently released after posting bond, Stordalen in the amount of $40,000 and Callihan in the amount of $20,000.

If convicted of both her charges, Piland faces up to six months in the county jail, five years in prison, and a fine of between $100 and $50,500. She is currently released after posting a $10,000 bond.

Hearings for Stordalen, Callihan, and Piland are each are set for Oct. 16.

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