Big Lake bust nets 300 pounds of pot and 5 Texans

Categories: Crime, Drugs

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300 pounds of marijuana seized in Big Lake.
Suspected of being a stash house, the home on Sherburne County Road 83 in Big Lake Township had been under watch for five months by the time police moved in on Valentine's Day.

When the dust settled, 300 pounds of marijuana had been seized, and five men from the border cities of the lower Rio Grande Valley in Texas were under arrest.

Felix Martinez-Garza, 41; Martin Garza, 40; Israel Benavidez, 47; Cesar Valdez-Gonzalez, 46; and John Wisdom, 27, are all being held at the Sherburne County jail.

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From left, Israel Benavidez, Martin Garza, Felix Martinez-Garza, Cesar Valdez-Gonzalez, John Wisdom
The drugs had an estimated street value of more than $500,000.

Sheriff Joel Brott says the men were part of a distribution ring that sold the drugs, and then used the proceeds to buy cars which were driven back to Texas and sold a roughly 1,500-mile trip:

Their movements are of a piece with what the DEA calls a major drug transportation corridor from South Texas to the Twin Cities and north to Duluth:

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Investigators were tipped off on Feb. 11 that the five men were in Big Lake, and police followed them to used car lots in the area. On Feb. 14, the men were followed to Rogers, where they met the driver of tractor trailer with Texas plates.

When the Texas crew drove back to the home on County Road 83, the cops moved in.

seized marijuana.jpg
300 pounds of seized marijuana.
All five men have been arraigned on suspicion of controlled substance possession with intent to sell. Four are being held in Sherburne County jail on $500,000 bail each. Martinez - Garza is being held on $750,000 bail.

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