Opioid Addiction

WPD seizes 22 pounds of meth during suspected drug trafficking case

WORTHINGTON — Suspected drug traffickers peddling more than 20 pounds of methamphetamine were intercepted by local law enforcement early Sunday morning, removing up to approximately $1.5 million worth of the illegal drug from the streets.

According to criminal complaints filed Dec. 24, two Texas residents were arrested by a Worthington police officer around 1:30 a.m. Dec. 22 after 22 pounds of methamphetamine were allegedly discovered in their vehicle. The meth was reportedly packaged in 10 black bundles, each weighing approximately 2.2 pounds.

Desiree A. Espinoza, 38, and Andres Hernandez, 46, both of San Antonio, Texas, each face felony first-degree drug sale and possession. Each charge is punishable up to 30 years imprisonment and/or a $1 million fine. Hernandez’s conditional bail was scheduled at $100,000; his unconditional at $200,000. Espinoza’s conditional bail was scheduled at $20,000; her unconditional at $40,000.

Having pulled over the vehicle due to crossing the center line on Minnesota 60, the officer reportedly became suspicious of drug trafficking due to several factors — a rental vehicle agreement, the decoration of the vehicle with personal items to give the appearance that it was a personal vehicle, the discovery of a power tool that reportedly could have aided in the concealment/recovery of illegal items and the display of signs of nervousness.

The vehicle’s driver, Hernandez, claimed not to have known the methamphetamine was in the vehicle.

According to Worthington Detective Sgt. Nate Grimmius, the estimated street value of 22 pounds of methamphetamine is $1.5 million if sold in gram quantity or approximately $150,000 if sold by the pound.

The last time methamphetamine of a similar amount was discovered in Nobles County was during a 2017 traffic stop by a Nobles County deputy.

Jon W. Guess and Felicia A. Massey were each charged in Nobles County District Court after a Nobles County deputy discovered 20 pounds of meth in their vehicle during a November 2017 traffic stop. The charges were dismissed in Nobles County to be handled federally.

Guess and Massey were both convicted of conspiracy to distribute a controlled substance in United States District Court. Guess was sentenced to 10 years imprisonment and Massey to seven years to the United States Bureau of Prisons. Each were required to participate in a 500-hour residential drug abuse program while incarcerated.

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