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Business owner arrested after Hudson meth bust

Howard Bennett1 / 2
Kent Evans2 / 2

Drug charges were filed Tuesday against a Hudson business owner arrested after authorities raided the business.

Hudson police said Hilltop Service Center owner Howard J. Bennett was one of two people arrested after a search warrant was executed Monday, May 15, at the 1000 O'Keefe Road facility in Hudson.

Hudson Sgt. Glen Hartman said "a sizable amount of drugs" was found during the search, conducted early Monday by Hudson police in partnership with the St. Croix Valley Drug Task Force.

Hartman said on a scale of 1 to 10, the magnitude of the bust was "a seven or eight."

"This is significant for us," he said.

According to the St. Croix County jail roster, Bennett, of Hudson, was arrested on suspicion of methamphetamine possession, maintaining a drug trafficking place and possession of meth paraphernalia. A second man who works at the business, 35-year-old Roberts resident Kent M. Evans, was booked into jail on a probation hold.

Hartman said details on the raid were limited because the case remains under investigation, but said the incident was executed without a struggle and that the suspects were "cooperative" during the arrests.

St. Croix County District Attorney said Tuesday that Bennett would be charged with felony meth possession as second or subsequent offense. Investigators found about 15 grams of the substance during the search, Nieskes said.

Bennett made his initial court appearance after the press deadline Tuesday.

In addition to suspected meth, other undisclosed items were also seized at Hilltop, Hartman said.

Hilltop Service Center had been under investigation "for some time" by the new Hudson police narcotics detective. The position was created in 2016 in response to growing drug concerns in Hudson.

"We're beginning to see the fruits of putting a full-time person in that position," Hartman said. "It's proof positive of what the chief and other stakeholders knew."

According to online court records, Bennett's criminal activity included a 2016 conviction in Pierce County for disorderly conduct. He was also convicted of disorderly conduct in 2005 in St. Croix County after being convicted there of misdemeanor THC possession in 2001.

Mike Longaecker

Mike Longaecker is the regional public safety reporter for RiverTown Multimedia. His coverage area spans St. Croix and Pierce counties. Longaecker served from 2011-2015 as editor of the Woodbury Bulletin. A University of Wisconsin-River Falls graduate, Longaecker previously reported for the Red Wing Republican Eagle and for the Forum Communications Minnesota Capitol Bureau. You can follow him on Twitter at @Longaecker

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