A 39-year-old man and 20-year-old woman face a federal charge of attempting to distribute methamphetamine after they were found Wednesday morning with 26 pounds of crystal meth in their car, according to court documents.
Dennis Olinger and Haley Nicole Bigelow were charged in Dayton’s U.S. District Court after a U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency task force wrote that the two were stopped on Interstate 70 after speeding.
Assistant U.S. attorney Brent Tabacchi said 26 pounds of meth could have a street value of nearly $400,000, though prosecutors say values vary greatly depending on several criteria.
Tabacchi said during the duo’s initial court appearance Thursday that, if convicted as charged, both defendants face a sentence of 10 years to life. Olinger has previous drug trafficking convictions, so he would face a life sentence, Tabacchi said.
A detention hearing was scheduled for Tuesday and a preliminary hearing scheduled for July 6. Both will be held in the Butler County Jail.
The criminal complaint said that after the Ohio State Highway Patrol trooper stopped the blue Volkswagen Passat in the eastbound lane of the highway in Preble County, Olinger could not provide a driver’s license.
Olinger said he and Bigelow, whom he identified as his girlfriend, were on their way back from a fair in Missouri, according to the complaint.
The DEA officer wrote that Bigelow could not provide Olinger’s name to the trooper and that she said they were just friends. “According to the trooper, both Olinger and Bigelow appeared overly nervous,” the officer wrote.
A second trooper arrived with a K-9, which alerted to the odor of narcotics, the complaint said, and that troopers discovered a new vacuum sealer, a CB, tools and two “traps” or hidden compartments used to conceal items.
Within those traps, the officer wrote, troopers found 26 pounds of crystal methamphetamine and also located about $2,000 in Bigelow’s purse.
Troopers learned Bigelow only recently registered the Passat in her name, and she allegedly told them that someone had given her cash to purchase the car.
The complaint said Olinger acknowledged he and Bigelow knew they were transporting meth to be delivered to the Dayton area and that he owned some of the drugs and intended to sell it himself.
Online jail records show Olinger has been booked into the Montgomery and Greene county jails multiple times since 2002, usually on drug-related charges.
Records also show Bigelow was booked in the Montgomery County Jail in January for advertising and possession of drugs.