Drug agents pulled off a surprise predawn raid on a couple’s remote residential property west of the Twin Cities and seized illicit drugs, more than $5,000 in cash, guns and a working cannon with all the accessories needed to fire the weapon, authorities said.
A multiagency drug task force based out of Willmar raided the multibuilding farm property on Hwy. 15 about 7 miles north of Hutchinson on Monday morning and jailed 59-year-old Bret Wakefield and 56-year-old Ramona Wakefield, who are accused of dealing methamphetamine out of their home.
The Wakefields were each charged Tuesday with two counts of intent to sell a controlled substance and being felons in possession of a firearm. Bret Wakefield posted bond and was released. A telephone message was left with him seeking his response to the allegations. Ramona Wakefield remained jailed until early Tuesday evening. Her attorney declined to comment.
Task force agents raided the property and recovered several shotguns, an AR-15 semiautomatic rifle and magazines for the weapon, more rifles and a revolver, according to a search warrant affidavit filed with the court Monday afternoon.
Also seized: packaged and loose methamphetamine in many locations totaling nearly 2 ounces; marijuana, suspected LSD and drug paraphernalia; surveillance cameras; a Taser; ammunition, and $1,162 taken from the man and $4,471 from a safe in a shed.
Also recovered was a ledger that “appeared to be a record of past illegal transactions concerning the buying or selling of controlled substances,” read the charges, which characterized the raid as a “night time, no-knock” operation.
Outside the shed, agents confiscated the homemade cannon standing roughly 3 feet tall on two wheels and with a hitch, task force Cmdr. Ross Ardoff said Tuesday.
“All the proper parts were there,” the sergeant said, “a range estimator on the side, and inside the shed were a few cannon balls about the size of cue balls.” He said it appeared the cannon had been fired recently. Mud and leaves were on its wheels, indicating it had been pulled around the farm.
Ardoff said that possessing any firearm while also having illicit drugs is illegal, but he was unsure about the legality of having a cannon absent any controlled substance.
“To be honest, we are researching that right now,” he said.
What Ardoff does know is that he’s chalked up another first for his 22 years in law enforcement, the past 16 as a plainclothes officer.
“I can’t recall ever coming across another cannon,” he said.
The raid followed vital information provided by a drug user who has been acting as a confidential informant for the task force for the past several months.
According to the search warrant affidavit:
The informant arranged on the investigation’s behalf a “controlled buy” of meth from the woman. The informant was equipped with a wire, which allowed agents to hear the woman discuss the sale. The transaction was completed, and the informant turned over the meth to a task force agent.
The raid was at least the second at this property since 2006, the affidavit noted. The couple were arrested then, charged with possessing illicit drugs and convicted. And since 2014, the task force has been told by several people of drug activity at the couple’s home.
Paul Walsh • 612-673-4482