Officers who were just about to execute a search warrant at a house in Racine Tuesday instead ended up busting two men on drug charges after they drove away from the residence.
Steven Darge, 35, of Caledonia, and Zachary Demet, 34, of Racine, were charged Wednesday in Racine County Circuit Court.
Darge faces a felony charge of possession, subsequent offense and misdemeanor bail jumping stemming from a misdemeanor battery charge in December. If convicted, he faces up to four years, three months in jail and/or up to $20,000 in fines.
Demet was charged with a single felony count each of manufacture/deliver of THC and possession with the intent to deliver. If convicted, he faces up to seven years in prison and/or up to $20,000 in fines.
According to the criminal complaint, Racine Police were preparing to serve a search warrant on a house in the 1700 block of St. Clair specifically targeted at Demet's suspected distribution of drugs. Officers observed two men - later identified as Darge and Demet - get into a van and drive away.
Weather and road conditions prevented officers from immediately catching up to the van, but they did finally initiate a traffic stop near South Street and 8th Avenue, the complaint reads. When police made contact with the occupants of the van, they say they saw a cell phone in Demet's hand and a storage compartment under the front seat.
When officers opened the compartment, they reported a large bag contained 13 smaller bags containing a substance that tested positive for marijuana. Police say they also found text messages in the cell phone referring to sales of controlled substances.
In addition to the baggies of pot, a semi-automatic handgun was also found in the van, and Darge reportedly admitted to police that he had $10 worth of marijuana he'd just purchased from Demet.
Darge remains in the Racine County Jail on a $500 bond. Demet is out of jail after paying a $2,500 cash bond. Both defendants will have their preliminary hearings on Feb. 13 before Court Commissioner Alice Rudebusch.