Trooper finds 200 pounds of marijuana after traffic stop near Albert Lea

Published 9:30 am Thursday, November 4, 2010

By Sarah Stultz

Staff writer

A 34-year-old Kentucky man faces first-degree marijuana charges after he was reportedly pulled over by a Minnesota State Patrol trooper on Interstate 35 last month while carrying more than 200 pounds of marijuana in his pickup.

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According to Freeborn County District Court records, Shannon O. Gonzalez, of Radcliff, Ky., was pulled over on Oct. 19, after a trooper reportedly saw him traveling slower than the other traffic in the right lane of southbound I-35 near Exit 5.

When the trooper caught up with the pickup, he reportedly saw objects dangling from the rearview mirror and also noted that there was no front license plate and the rear plate had a paper permit.

Gonzalez had a valid license and explained he had just purchased the vehicle and had it properly insured.

According to court documents, the trooper ran a check on Gonzalez and found that he had been involved in a cocaine case in 2006 in Kentucky.

Gonzalez reportedly told the trooper he had come for a quick trip to visit a friend in Minneapolis; however, there was no luggage or clothing visible in the pickup.

During a search of the truck, a K9 officer alerted the trooper to the presence of drugs in the bed portion of the truck.

When the trooper opened the truck cover and tailgate, he reportedly found duct-taped boxes and a black hockey bag. The boxes had “bricks” of marijuana inside.

Altogether, the marijuana weighed 222 pounds.

Court documents state Gonzalez was interviewed by a drug enforcement agency agent, during which he admitted that the marijuana was his.

Gonzalez faces a maximum penalty of 30 years in prison and a $1 million fine for his charge.

He has been released from the Freeborn County jail after posting a non-cash bond of $75,000 Oct. 25. He has agreed to a series of conditions, including no use or possession of alcohol or drugs, random testing, agreeing to remain law abiding, signing a waiver of extradition and not being allowed to enter bars or liquor stores.

He is next scheduled to appear in court at 1 p.m. Dec. 6.