Two associates of Aaron Schnagl, whom investigators call a person of interest in the Dec. 9 disappearance of Danielle Jelinek, have been charged in Chisago County District Court for allegedly hiding illegal drugs taken from his house the day she was reported missing.
Joshua W. Jeans, 32, of Stacy, and Curt E. Bennett, 41, of Wyoming, have each been charged with two felony second- and fifth-degree drug counts after investigators say they removed and hid a duffel bag from Schnagl’s Chisago Lake Township home containing 23 grams of cocaine, more than 9 pounds of marijuana and a variety of pills.
Schnagl was sentenced in Anoka County District Court last month for a parole violation after another 12 pounds of marijuana was found in his garage. Schnagl has adamantly asserted he had nothing to do with Jelinek’s disappearance, and has not been charged in connection with it, nor have Jeans or Bennett.
Jelinek, 28, grew up in Cottage Grove and had lived with her sister and nephew in Oakdale. She told her family on Dec. 8 she was meeting a girlfriend, but instead met Schnagl. When family members hadn’t heard from her by the next day, they called the Chisago County Sheriff’s Office. Deputies couldn’t find her, but found Jelinek’s personal items during a search of Schnagl’s house, including her purse, cellphone, car keys, shoes and an inhaler she used daily to treat her asthma.
Volunteers, investigators and dive teams have been searching for Jelinek for more than three months.
According to the complaints against Jeans and Bennett, Jeans told an investigator he went to Schnagl’s house Dec. 9 after Schnagl called him to get rid of the duffel bag full of drugs. Jeans is owner of Cutting Edge, an engine repair shop that adjoins Good Guys Automotive Group, a Forest Lake automotive customizing and detailing business co-owned by Schnagl. Bennett works at Cutting Edge.
Both Jeans and Bennett acknowledged that they sold drugs, as did Schnagl and his business partner, the complaint says. Jeans drove the bag to Bennett’s house, and Bennett said he placed it in several garbage bags and buried it in a snowbank.
Four days later, he brought the bag to his sister-in-law’s house in Ham Lake without her knowing it, the complaint says, and hid it under a bed — where investigators found it.
In another search stemming from the case, items seized Dec. 17 from a storage locker in Maplewood rented by Schnagl’s mother included four bins containing bags of marijuana, court documents show. As part of Schnagl’s plea agreement, his mother was not held responsible for the discovery of those drugs, said his defense attorney, Rachael Goldberger.
Both Jeans and Bennett were released on bail and were scheduled to next appear in court June 18.
Jim Anderson • 651-925-5039