Authorities staking out abandoned vehicle in Wabasha arrest owner on drug charges
WABASHA, Minn. (WKBT) — A 46-year-old Lake City, Minn., man had an unwelcome welcoming committee when he claimed his impounded vehicle: Law enforcement who had staked out the car arrested him on allegations they had found nearly 5 pounds of methamphetamine inside.
Michael Jerald Mattison arrived at the Wabasha County Criminal Justice Center Tuesday to retrieve his vehicle from the county’s impound lot, according to a news release Thursday from the Wabasha County Attorney’s office.
Mattison, who had left the vehicle on a county road several days before, was unaware that law enforcement had obtained a warrant and searched it, the release said.
The officers, including members of Southeast Minnesota Violent Crime Enforcement Team, had found 4.96 pounds of methamphetamine and about $1,800 in cash, the release said.
When Mattison arrived and took physical possession of the vehicle, the law officers who had been watching the car pounced to arrest him.
“That is a significant amount to be found in Wabasha County,” said Capt. Curt Struwe of the Wabasha County Sheriff’s Office. “That amount of meth has the ability to effect many lives here in Southeast Minnesota.”
In a mirandized statement, Mattison acknowledged that the methamphetamine was his and that he planned to sell it, according to the news release.
Mattison, who was charged with two counts of a first-degree controlled substance crime, made his first court appearance Thursday, when his bail was set at $200,000. His next hearing is set for June 7.
Wabasha County Attorney Karrie Kelly lamented the incident, saying, “What is alarming is not just the large quantities of meth, but also the frequency. This is the second case my office has charged in just the past few months involving multiple pounds of methamphetamine.”
On March 22, Kelly’s office charged 39-year-old Federico Hernandez-Mozqueda of Plainview, Minn., with three counts of first-degree controlled substance crime. In that case, police at the Minneapolis/St. Paul Airport had alerted the Wabasha County Sheriff’s Office that they had intercepted a package containing about 2.3 pounds of meth.
That package was addressed to Hernandez-Mozqueda and was being sent to his residence in Plainview in Wabasha County.
Wabasha County deputies, in coordination with several other agencies — again including the Southeast Minnesota Violent Crime Enforcement Team — obtained a warrant and searched Hernandez-Mozqueda’s residence. In addition to recovering more than 1.5 pounds of methamphetamine, they also found several thousand dollars in cash and a pistol.
“These cases show that methamphetamine is still rampant here in Wabasha,” said Struwe, vowing that people “who bring these destructive substances into our county and into our homes are held accountable.”
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