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Mitchell woman arrested for involvement with half-pound of meth pleads down to one misdemeanor

Using Google Maps, it was determined that the home was within 1,000 feet of the Abbott House, which created a drug-free zone that included the property.

Mitchell Police 2021 #2.jpg
The Mitchell Police Division is a part of the Mitchell Department of Public Safety. (Hunter Dunteman / Republic)
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MITCHELL — A Mitchell woman on Tuesday escaped a host of serious drug and weapons charges stemming from a 2021 search warrant of her home, instead pleading guilty to concealment of a felony.

Hailee Flores, 29, of Mitchell, entered a guilty plea through her attorneys Tuesday to one count of misprision of a felony, a Class 1 misdemeanor charge. South Dakota law defines misprision as the concealment or failure to immediately disclose to authorities knowledge of the commission of a felony, including the name of the perpetrator and other relevant facts.

According to court documents, the charge was not originally lobbied against Flores. It developed as an amendment to one count of possession of a controlled substance. By pleading guilty to misprision of a felony, Davison County State’s Attorney Jim Miskimins dismissed other charges lodged against Flores, including: possession of a gun with an altered serial number, possession with the intent to distribute a controlled substance as a Class 3 felony, including possession of a controlled substance, possession of marijuana with the intent to distribute, possession of more than two ounces of marijuana, petty theft of over $400, possession of drug paraphernalia, and violation of a drug free zone.

The charges stem from the night of July 7, 2021, when a search warrant was executed on a home in the 700 block of south Minnesota Avenue in Mitchell in regard to a belief the home held stolen property based upon information from the Mitchell Police Division and the Sanborn County Sheriff’s Office.

As authorities executed the warrant, they discovered Flores in the home with then-35-year-old Cale Bender.

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From July 2021...
Cale Carl Bender, 35, and Hailee Rae Flores, 28, both of Mitchell, were both charged with at least four felonies.

An arrest affidavit said officers executing the warrant found approximately $1,400 in cash, multiple glass pipes with burnt residue, packaging materials and a baggie which tested positive for the presence of methamphetamine. They also discovered approximately one-quarter of a pound of marijuana hidden in the ceiling tiles in the living room.

In a hidden compartment, court documents say police discovered a 12-gauge Winchester shotgun with the serial number shaven off, making it “impossible to read.” In a vehicle located on the property was a safe — which a key affixed to Flores’ wallet opened. Authorities reported finding $2,000 in cash, over half-pound of methamphetamine, a loaded Smith and Wesson .38 Special revolver, a scale and “prepackaged baggies of methamphetamine for sale” in the safe.

Using Google Maps, it was determined that the home was within 1,000 feet of the Abbott House, which created a drug-free zone that included the property.

In exchange for her guilty plea, Flores was sentenced to one year of good behavior and ordered to pay fines of roughly $125.

For possessing the .38 special, Flores is also facing federal charges since the weapon had been transported across state lines at one point.

In January, Bender pleaded guilty to possession of a firearm with an altered serial number and possession with the intent to distribute marijuana. In March, he served 20 days in jail and will continue serving probation until March 2026. All other charges against him were dropped in exchange for his guilty plea.

Dunteman covers general and breaking news as well as crime in the Mitchell Republic's 17-county coverage area. He grew up in Harrisburg, and has lived in South Dakota for over 20 years. He joined the Mitchell Republic in June 2021 after earning his bachelor's degree in journalism from the University of Minnesota Duluth. He can be reached at HDunteman@MitchellRepublic.com, or on Twitter @HRDunt.
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