According to police, tips from concerned neighbors and a suspect's daughter helped lead officers to Sioux Falls' latest meth bust. 37-year-old Heather Schmidt, 24-year-old Nicholas Sherard and 18-year-old Jonathan Wallace were all arrested on Wednesday and now face multiple drug charges in connection with the meth lab found on the 2200 block of South Grange Avenue.
Schmidt is no stranger to the KELOLAND News cameras. We interviewed her back in July for a different story. Schmidt was at a candlelight vigil after two people were injured in motorcycle crash on 26th Street and Grange Avenue. One of the victims later died.
"It's scary to know that there's been two deaths on this road, and I have children that walk this road every day," Schmidt said in July.
Months later, one of her children turned her in. Police said Schmidt's 15-year-old daughter told a school resource officer that on Tuesday night, Schmidt pushed, yelled at and strangled her.
"To the point that the girl blacked out. She came to, was able to get to a room and reported it the next morning when she got to school," Sioux Falls Police Public Information Officer Sam Clemens said.
In Minnehaha County Court on Thursday, a court official said someone had to pull Schmidt off her daughter. The girl regained consciousness and is fine. Schmidt was in tears when a judge read a list of charges, including abuse of a minor, choking and four counts of domestic violence. These charges add up to a possibility of more than 25 years in prison and/or more than $50,000. This is in addition to drug charges. Schmidt faces a count of manufacturing a controlled substance - methamphetamine, a count of possession of a controlled substance - methamphetamine, inhabiting a place where drugs are used or sold, and possessing drug paraphernalia. Police said she is listed as owning the house, so she also faces a count of maintaining a place where drugs are kept and sold.
In addition to the meth residue and meth-making equipment, investigators also found marijuana, marijuana paraphernalia and klonopin, a prescription drug that can be used to treat seizure disorders or panic disorder.
24-year-old Nicholas Sherard and 18-year-old Jonathan Wallace both face similar charges, including manufacturing a controlled substance - methamphetamine. The two men were scheduled to be in court on Thursday, however their first appearance has been pushed to Friday. During Thursday's hearing, the two men apparently got into a verbal fight with each other, or other inmates. Shouting and swearing could be heard in the holding room next to the courtroom. Both men were taken away.
Clemens said Schmidt's daughter's tip is just part of several reports police have received over the last few months. Neighbors suspected possible drug deals after seeing a lot of different people stop by the house several times during the day and night.
"Most people, when they go to visit, they don't stay for a couple of minutes to visit," Clemens said. "We always want people to give us information. In this case, it paid off."