A 15-month-long investigation into the sale of methamphetamine in the Crow Wing County area resulted in federal indictments against four men.
The men - Robert Garcia, 41, Garrison; Randy Lee Motzko, 42, Garrison, Karl James Pentz, age 48, rural Deerwood; and Noel Gutierrez Manzanares, 37, address unknown - were arrested after authorities from several agencies executed three search warrants at residences in the Garrison area, the Crow Wing County Sheriff's Department reported.
During the investigation officers seized almost two pounds of methamphetamine along with numerous vehicles and firearms. Sheriff Todd Dahl estimates the street value of the methamphetamine at more than $30,000.
Dahl said he didn't expect any more arrests at this time and he credited the work by officers for bringing the case to conclusion.
"Sometimes as an investigation continues on and on and on, interest and patience could go down, but in this instance everybody who worked on case, from the initial officer who made the stop, to work of investigators from all counties, the ATF and the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension, all did an outstanding job," Dahl said.
"These officers have been diving into this for a long time and they really did an outstanding job. I can't say enough about them. They really stepped up to the plate."
On Friday in U.S. District Court, the men were charged with conspiracy to distribute and possessing with the intent to distribute controlled substances, namely methamphetamine and oxycodone, the U.S. Attorney's office in Minneapolis reported.
Manzanares also was charged with one count possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine and four counts of distribution of methamphetamine; Motzko and Garcia also were charged with one count of possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine; and Pentz also was charged with being a felon in possession of a firearm.
The indictment was originally filed Oct. 5 and was unsealed following the defendants' initial appearance Friday in federal court.
From Jan. 1, 2008, through Sept. 29, 2010, the U.S. Attorney's office alleges the defendants conspired to distribute oxycodone and 500 or more grams of methamphetamine. The indictment also alleges that Manzanares distributed 50 or more grams of methamphetamine on June 25, Aug. 17, Aug. 25 and Sept. 14; while on June 24 Manzanares, Motzko and Garcia allegedly possessed with intent to distribute 320 grams of methamphetamine.
Also noted in the indictment was that Pentz possessed several firearms on July 31, 2008, including an AK-47 rifle and numerous handguns and rifles. Because he is a felon he is prohibited under federal law from possessing firearms at any time. Pentz's prior felony convictions include third-degree possession of narcotics in Anoka County in 2002, fifth-degree possession of narcotics in Sherburne County in 2002 and fifth-degree possession of narcotics in Aitkin County in 2008.
The search warrants were executed by agents with the Lakes Area Drug Investigative Division, the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension, North Central Drug Task Force and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms. Also assisting were the Baxter, Brainerd and Breezy Point police departments.
MATT ERICKSON may be reached at email@example.com or 855-5857.
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