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Accused Grand Forks meth makers plead not guilty

From left to right: Crystal Lowery, Daniel Lowery and Billy Joe Grimes

A Grand Forks couple charged in March with manufacturing methamphetamine near a school, an offense punishable by life in prison, pleaded not guilty Tuesday in state district court.

Daniel and Crystal Lowery each face seven felony charges. Both pleaded not guilty to one count of meth possession, one count of possession of paraphernalia and four counts of felony child endangerment charges — one for each of their children.

The couple’s children, all younger than 12, lived in the home at 504 S. Fifth St., where Grand Forks Narcotics Task Force agents found meth, pipes and other items indicating meth manufacturing was taking place, according to an affidavit.

The children are in the custody of Grand Forks County Social Services.

 If convicted, the Lowerys each face a maximum sentence of life in prison with no parole for the felony charge of manufacturing meth within 1,000 feet of a school or child care center.

Each felony count of child endangerment, possession of methamphetamine and possession of drug paraphernalia is punishable by a maximum sentence of five years in prison and a $10,000 fine.

The couple also faces misdemeanor charges of possession of drug paraphernalia, which is punishable by a maximum of one year in jail and a $3,000 fine. 

Also charged in the bust was Billy Joe Grimes, who had been living in the couple’s basement for a little over a month when he was arrested.

Grimes also pleaded not guilty to felony meth manufacturing charges. Unlike the Lowerys, Grimes’ manufacturing charge is a felony with a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison and a $10,000 fine. He also faces a lesser drug charge.

Pretrial hearings have been set for July 3 for the Lowerys and June 26 for Grimes. Tentative trial dates have not been set.

Brandi Jewett

Brandi Jewett is a reporter for the Grand Forks Herald with beats focusing on northwest Minnesota, unmanned aircraft systems and East Grand Forks city government. A native of Valley City, N.D., 26 years worth of winters haven't scared her out of the state yet. Follow her work at grandforksherald.com, on her blog at droningon.areavoices.com and on Twitter and Instagram: @brandijewett. Send tips and story ideas to bjewett@gfherald.com. 

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