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Forum News Service, Published March 19 2014

Grand Forks couple could face life sentence in meth case

GRAND FORKS - A Grand Forks couple are charged with making methamphetamine so close to a school that they could face life in prison.

Daniel and Crystal Lowery also were charged with endangering their four children, all under age 12. They each face seven felony counts, including the Class AA felony charge of making meth within 1,000 feet of as school, which carries a maximum prison sentence of life without parole.

The Lowerys were arrested Tuesday during a search of their home -- a little more than a block from St. Mary’s Catholic School -- and the children were put in the care of Grand Forks Social Services.

A man living in their basement, Billy Joe Grimes, 29, also was arrested and charged with conspiracy to make meth, a Class A felony with a top penalty of 20 years in prison.

The case is part of a sweeping investigation in the region that has led to several recent arrests, with drug task forces using an online database to track suspicious purchases of common cold medications used by meth cooks.

According to an affidavit, agents learned Tuesday that the Lowerys had bought cold medication at two drugstores within 10 minutes. They followed them home and watched them while obtaining a search warrant. Investigators said Daniel Lowery admitted he and his wife had bought the medications to make meth.