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Two charged with drug possession

Two individuals charged with drug possession in separate cases recently made their first appearances in Mower County District Court.

Felicia Marie Houff

Felicia Marie Houff, 25

Felicia Marie Houff, 25, of Glencoe has been charged with felony third-degree drugs – possess schedule I or II narcotic in a school zone, felony fifth-degree drug possession, petty misdemeanor possess over 1.4 grams of marijuana in a motor vehicle and petty misdemeanor possession of drug paraphernalia.

According to the court complaint, an Austin police lieutenant responded to a parking complaint at about 8:39 p.m. on Sept. 10 on the east side of the Westcott Athletic Field, a school zone. Dispatch advised that an SUV (2006 Hummer with Minnesota license 248TYK) was parked in a “Bus Only” area and was blocking a bus from exiting. The lieutenant arrived and had dispatch attempt to contact the registered owner, Houff, to advise her of the situation.

As the lieutenant was getting ready to write a parking ticket, people were exiting the athletic field and the Hummer’s ignition engaged and the vehicle began to back up. He exited his squad car and walked to the passenger side of the Hummer and saw Houff in the driver’s seat. He stood at the side of the vehicle waiting for Houff to roll down the window, but she did nothing immediately. After a few seconds passed, Houff rolled the window down about two inches. The lieutenant immediately detected a strong odor of marijuana and told Houff to turn off the vehicle. He advised Houff that she was getting a parking ticket and she said that she parked there “all the time.”

The lieutenant told Houff that he detected a very strong odor of marijuana and she nervously replied, “I don’t have any… I left it all in the house.” He again told her that there was marijuana in her vehicle and she said, “This is (expletive). I know my rights. I’m moving my car.” Houff began to place the keys back in the ignition; the lieutenant called for backup and reached into the vehicle and grabbed the keys. He then ordered her out of the vehicle and spoke to her outside. She repeatedly stated that she wanted to move her car and on two occasions tried to get back into the car.

Officers arrived and searched the Hummer while the lieutenant stood nearby with Houff, who then said she had about an ounce of marijuana in a backpack that was located on the back seat. An officer searched the backpack and located 39 grams of marijuana, a digital scale, and four oxycodone hydrochloride pills, a schedule II controlled substance. Police also found $647 in cash and a small container of tear gas compound in Houff’s purse.

Houff was unable to prove that she had a prescription for the pills and was arrested.

Houff will appear in court again on Sept. 24.

Steven Regino Schwering

Steven Regino Schwering, 29

Steven Regino Schwering, 29, of Austin has been charged with felony third-degree drugs – possess three grams or more of heroin, felony fifth-degree drug possession, felony theft – take/drive motor vehicle without owner consent – and petty misdemeanor possession of drug paraphernalia.

According to the court complaint, an adult male reported on Sept. 13 that Schwering has stolen his 2016 Ford Fusion a couple of days earlier. An Austin police officer recalled seeing the vehicle in the 200 block of Second Street Southeast, so he drove by to see if it was still there. He located the Ford, which was parked in the 100 block of Second Street Southeast, and observed a male, later identified as Schwering, searching through the backseat.

The officer made contact with Schwering, who was removing clothing from the back seat, folding it, and placing it on top of the vehicle. Schwering said he was cleaning out the car and that it belonged to the reported. He indicated the reportedknew he had the Ford because he was trying to fix a problem with the vehicle. When asked why the owner reported it stolen, Schwering said he did not know, claiming the owner had parked the car at the location a few days earlier.

Schwering was then detained and searched. Police located a plastic bag containing 3.7 grams of heroin and a piece of folded aluminum foil containing 0.63 gram of heroin in Schwering’s pocket. Schwering claimed he had “no idea” what was in his pocket because he had just put the pants on after getting them from the vehicle. Police also located several syringes in the front passenger seat of the car.

An officer spoke to the Ford’s owner, who said someone came into his house two nights prior and took his keys and a gray LG TracPhone. He said Schwering came by his home the morning prior and said he had the vehicle. The owner indicated he had not given Schwering permission to drive the Ford, but Schwering walked away from him when he told him to give it back.

A review of Schwering’s criminal record shows prior convictions for domestic assault, drug possession and tampering with a motor vehicle. He is currently awaiting disposition on a felony domestic assault charge.

Schwering will appear in court again on Sept. 28.