By EVAN REID
FLORENCE, Wis. - An Alpha man and a Crystal Falls woman each accused of a felony marijuana offense among other charges entered not guilty pleas in Florence County Court on Tuesday.
Michael Anthony Valesano, 21, and Melissa Sue Hamilton, 30, both pleaded not guilty to one felony count of possession of THC-second offense and one misdemeanor count of possession of drug paraphernalia.
The felony count carries a maximum penalty of three years and six months in prison.
In addition, Valesano pleaded not guilty to one misdemeanor count of operating with a restricted controlled substance in blood-with a minor in vehicle.
Hamilton also pleaded not guilty to one misdemeanor count of battery.
A final pre-trial in the matter was scheduled for May 27.
The charges against Valesano and Hamilton stem from an April 18 incident.
According to the criminal complaint in the case, the pair was arrested by Florence County Sheriff's Department deputies following a traffic stop on U.S. 2. A young child was a passenger in the vehicle at the time.
After Valesano and Hamilton consented to a search, deputies found two bags and a vial containing suspected drug residue in the vehicle, and a glass smoking pipe with green plant material in Hamilton's purse.
The complaint states Hamilton became enraged and attacked Valesano, who later admitted "the pipe and weed" were his.
Evan Reid's e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org.