Austin man accused of smuggling marijuana inside Mower Co. jail

Published 5:39pm Saturday, May 24, 2014

An Austin man allegedly smuggled marijuana into the Mower County Jail after he was arrested for possessing methamphetamine.

Felix Saldana Hernandez, 38, pleaded not guilty Thursday in Mower County District Court to fifth-degree drug possession and introducing contraband into the jail.

According to a court complaint, police stopped a 2002 Mercury Mountaineer at the 1200 block of Fourth Street Northwest on March 18. Officers believed the car was related to an Albert Lea call made earlier that week and was involved in a counterfeit currency case in Minnetonka, Minn.

Police asked Hernandez, a passenger in the car, for identification but Hernandez said he didn’t have any. Once police asked Hernandez to step out of the car, Hernandez ran and took off two jackets he was wearing, according to the complaint. Police chased after and used a Taser on Hernandez before taking him into custody.

According to the complaint, Hernandez told police he ran because he thought he was wanted for another matter, but police found 1.5 grams of meth in his belongings once they took him to the Mower County jail.

Mower County Sheriff’s deputies were called to the jail at 3 a.m. the following morning as jailers smelled marijuana near Hernandez’s cell and believed he had some. Authorities asked Hernandez about the marijuana, but Hernandez denied having any and began to fidget. According to the complaint, he eventually asked deputies, “Can I just give it to you?” Deputies took Hernandez to a shower area in the jail, where he removed some marijuana from his rectum.

Hernandez’s next court date is June 13.

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