By Dan Nienaber
Free Press Staff Writer
MANKATO — Two police officers working a homecoming patrol near the Minnesota State University campus this weekend reported finding a large amount of illegal drugs after a driver was stopped for clipping a vehicle in a parking lot.
Two Morgan men were arrested Sunday morning after the Chevy Suburban they were traveling in was stopped in the 1300 block of Warren Street at about 12:15 a.m.
The officers, who were in the same squad car, were talking to the owner of the apartment complex there when the driver of the Suburban, 23-year-old Matthew Richard Bennett, pulled into the parking lot, backed into another vehicle, then attempted to leave again, according to a criminal complaint filed this week in Blue Earth County District Court.
One of the officers got out of the squad car and motioned for Bennett to stop as he was leaving the lot. Bennett stopped but wasn’t able to provide proof of insurance for the vehicle, the complaint said. He was detained after the officers found open bottles of beer in the Suburban and learned Bennett’s driver’s license had been revoked.
A package of white powder that tested positive for methamphetamine was found in a cigarette package while Bennett was being patted down before being placed in the back of the squad car, the complaint said. The package and powder together weighed nearly an ounce, but the complaint didn’t say if the cigarette box was included in that weight.
After that methamphetamine and a small pipe were found, the Suburban was searched more thoroughly. Another cigarette package was found containing more than a half ounce of methamphetamine with its packaging.
The officers also reported finding three bags large bags of marijuana, weighing a total of about a quarter pound with packaging, inside the Suburban. Another medium-size bag of marijuana, several pipes, a grinder and three scales also were found.
Shane Ryan Pendleton, 21, also was arrested. Two other men who were in the Suburban have not been charged, according to court records.
Bennett and Pendleton appeared in court Tuesday for first-degree drug possession and sales charges for the methamphetamine and charges of fifth-degree drug possession and sales for the marijuana. All of the charges are felonies.
Bennett posted a bond for his release from jail Wednesday. Pendleton was released on his own recognizance after he appeared in court Tuesday.