A Necedah woman and a Tomah man are under arrest after police allegedly found methamphetamine in her vehicle during an Elroy traffic stop.
Christina Zieler, 35, of Necedah is charged with felony possession of methamphetamine as a party to a crime, repeater; and misdemeanors obstructing an officer as a party to a crime, repeater; and possession of drug paraphernalia as a party to a crime, repeater.
If convicted of the felony charge she faces up to three years and six months in prison or a fine of up to $10,000, or both. As Zieler has a prior conviction for felony possession of methamphetamine within a five year period from this arrest, her sentence may be increased by four years for the repeater modification.
Steven Champney, 26, of Tomah is charged with felony bail jumping, repeater; felony possession of THC, second and subsequent offense, as a party to a crime, repeater; and misdemeanor possession of drug paraphernalia as a party to a crime, repeater.
If convicted, Champney faces up to six years in prison or a fine of up to $10,000, or both, for the felony bail jumping charge, and up to three years and six months in prison or a fine of up to $10,000, or both, for the felony THC charge. As Champney has three previous misdemeanor convictions for possession of controlled substances, bail jumping, and disorderly conduct within a five year period prior to this arrest, his sentence if convicted could increase by up to two years for each charge due to the repeater modification.
According to the criminal complaint:
At about 11:01 p.m. Dec. 26, Officer Brandon Arenz initiated a traffic stop for a vehicle traveling east on Franklin Street in Elroy with no taillights.
Arenz approached the vehicle on the passenger side and made contact with the driver, later identified as Christina Zieler, informing her the reason for the stop was no illumination on the taillights. Zieler stated she knew about the lights, and had attempted to fix them earlier in the day.
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Asked for her license and proof of insurance, Zieler stated she did not have her driver’s license with her. She stated the car was her vehicle, and it was registered in her name. Asked for her name, Zieler gave a false name. She also gave a false address and date of birth, with her passenger, later identified as Steven Champney, having to tell her the address.
During questioning Arenz noted Zieler would look away while answering, appeared unsure of her answers, and stuttered while giving him answers. When Arenz returned to his squad car to run the information given by the driver he learned that all of the information was false.
Arenz requested Officer Noe respond with his K9 unit to the traffic stop, and was informed via radio by another officer that the driver may be Zieler. Zieler continued to insist on her false persona while Noe and his K9 performed a free air sniff around the vehicle.
The K9 unit gave a positive alert for an illegal substance. Zieler was removed from the vehicle, and informed that Champney had given officers her real name. She was placed under arrest and searched, while Champney was searched with his consent.
Champney had an odor of marijuana, but nothing was found during the search of his person and he was placed in a squad car without handcuffs.
During a search of the vehicle, Arenz found two grams of a white crystal substance later confirmed as methamphetamine. A review of squad car footage showed Champney attempting to hide something on his person.
Arenz spoke again with Champney and observed marijuana buds on his sweatshirt and pants. Other illegal items were found within his reach in the vehicle. Champney was placed under arrest, and the marijuana was found on his person during a search at the Juneau County Jail.
A search of the vehicle and the persons of Champney and Zieler found two grams of meth, 0.98 grams of marijuana, an empty jar with white residue, two THC pipes, a glass pipe, empty gem baggies and cut straw, torches, new needles, batteries, three cell phones, and a crystal rock.
Champney is scheduled for a plea hearing April 16 at the Juneau County Justice Center. Zieler was released on $2,000 bond but then failed to appear at her initial appearance on Jan. 22, and an arrest warrant was issued.
Reach Christopher Jardine on Twitter @ChrisJJardine or contact him at 608-432-6591.