Man pleads guilty to meth possession; Charge reduced in plea agreement

Published 8:47 am Friday, July 26, 2019


Benjamin Thomas Braaten, 30, of Kasson pleaded guilty to felony second-degree drugs-possess 25 grams or more of cocaine or methamphetamine as part of a plea agreement on Thursday in Mower County District Court.

The charge was reduced from felony first-degree drugs-possess 100 grams or more of cocaine of methamphetamine as part of the agreement.

Court documents state that Austin police officers executed a search warrant on Braaten’s vehicle on July 31, 2018. He was known to drive a 2011 Lincoln MKX, which was spotted heading south on Interstate 35 towards Owatonna. The vehicle was monitored as it drove south on Highway 218 and was stopped by police when it entered Mower County.

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Braaten was seen in the driver’s seat with a woman in the front passenger seat and an infant in a car seat in the back. A narcotics officer read Braaten a Miranda warning and provided him with a copy of the search warrant. He then asked Braaten where the methamphetamine was located and Braaten said it was in the glove compartment.

An officer retrieved 123.91 grams of methamphetamine in the glove compartment.

Police also found 2.82 grams of marijuana, two marijuana pipes and a methamphetamine pipe in the vehicle and $962 in cash on Braaten’s person.

A review of Braaten’s criminal history shows prior convictions for damage to property, third and fifth-degree drug possession, theft, storing methamphetamine paraphernalia in the presence of a child or vulnerable adult and violating a domestic abuse no contact order.

Braaten will be sentenced on Oct. 31.