The Free Press, Mankato, MN

April 26, 2013

Seven men charged in Mankato drug case

By Dan Nienaber
Free Press Staff Writer

MANKATO — A police raid Thursday afternoon at a house in the 300 block of North Sixth Street had neighbors wondering why several men were led away in handcuffs.

The answer became public late Friday when seven men made court appearances for felony drug charges accusing them of selling or possessing ecstasy, marijuana and prescription drugs.

Those men, along with others who were released after being interviewed by Minnesota River Valley Drug Task Force agents, were arrested at about 1 p.m. Thursday. Criminal complaints filed Friday said the task force had a warrant to search the house, but didn’t explain what evidence was used to obtain the warrant.

The complaints did say the task force found a variety of drugs in the rental house, which had several tenants.

Sebastian Lee Gilbertson, 20, is facing the most serious charges as a result of the search. Investigators reported finding what they suspected were 42 tablets of ecstasy, a hallucinogenic also known as MDMA.

The pills were found in a safe in a room that agents suspect was being used by Gilbertson. He initially told investigators he didn’t live at the house and his name was not on the lease, but later said he helped pay bills and pitched in for rent, the complaint said.

Gilbertson also told the agents the safe containing the pills was a “community safe.” He said the ecstasy belonged to someone else and someone else had the combination for the safe.

Sixteen doses of suspected LSD, a variety of prescription pills and several bags and other containers with marijuana and cocaine residue were found in a room in the house rented by 23-year-old Brian Robert Jacobson.

Three of the men arrested also are facing drug sale charges because scales, plastic bags that agents suspect were used for packaging marijuana or other items were found in their rooms. They are Steven Bradley Dittrich, 27; Andrew William Short, 24; and Samuel Alex Behrends, 18.

Dittrich told investigators he would buy about a quarter pound of marijuana each month for about $900, according to the criminal complaint. He allegedly said he would sell about half the marijuana to support his habit and use the other half.

Cody Wade Nelson, 23, and Michael Ward Fletcher, 24, were charged with felony fifth-degree drug possession. A plastic straw with cocaine residue was allegedly found in Nelson’s room.

Fletcher told investigators he didn’t live at the house, but had slept there the night before. Investigators reported he admitted to buying marijuana from someone in the house, but wouldn’t identify which resident.