A New Auburn man could face penalties of up to 40 years in prison and/or $150,000 in fines in connection with felony methamphetamine-related charges filed Wednesday, July 22, 2020, in Barron County Circuit Court

The defendant, identified as Bryan J. Mueller, 33, New Auburn, was taken into custody Monday, July 20, at St. Croix Casino, Turtle Lake, following an investigation that included the cooperation of the Barron County Sheriff’s Department, Turtle Lake Police Department and St. Croix Band of Chippewa.

The complaint said that between April and early June 2020, Barron County Sheriff’s investigators were contacted by three confidential informants and one anonymous tipster, with information that the defendant was allegedly involved in distributing meth.

Authorities also learned the defendant spent “a lot of time gambling at St. Croix Casino.” Investigators contacted tribal authorities, who agreed to help with the investigation.

On July 17, tribal authorities told investigators that the defendant was at the casino. The tribe provided information on the pickup truck the defendant was driving.

A K9 officer and handler were summoned, and a Turtle Lake officer stopped the defendant’s truck “for a couple of (village) traffic violations.”

Officers found three people in the truck, but the defendant wasn’t one of them.

The truck was searched. Officers found psilocybin mushrooms in the center console, along with a backpack that contained about 80 grams of marijuana, and just over 16 grams of meth.

Police found four cell phones in the truck, three of which were claimed by the occupants. However, the fourth phone went unclaimed. No one claimed ownership of the backpack, either.

Officers asked where the defendant could be found, and they were told he had stayed at the casino because he had won a lot of money. The drugs and the fourth phone were confiscated.

Three days after the traffic stop, July 20, Turtle Lake police reported the defendant had called asking when he could get his phone back.

Sheriff’s investigators got a warrant to search the phone. Later the same day, tribal authorities notified the Sheriff’s Department that the defendant was at the casino again.

He was arrested there. In a search incident to arrest, officers allegedly found the defendant in possession of five grams of meth.