The Free Press, Mankato, MN

Local News

May 9, 2013

Drug agents say arrests tied to meth ring


A third man, allegedly the leader of the drug-trafficking organization, also has been charged and there is a warrant for his arrest. That man, 24-year-old Francisco Orozco-Padilla, is the person the BCA agent met in Mason City. The agent was posing as a customer interested in purchasing large amounts of methamphetamine and cocaine.

During that Feb. 19 meeting, Orozco-Padilla allegedly told the agent he could provide meth in pound quantities. He said the drug was shipped in liquid form before his organization turned it back into solid form for sale, the complaint said.

He also allegedly told the agent about $35,000 in cash was seized after one of his associates was stopped by law enforcement near Mason City. The agent checked with authorities and learned an Iowa state trooper had confiscated $38,000 during a traffic stop on Feb. 1. Paperwork also was found in the car that showed $98,000 in cash was confiscated from the same driver when he was stopped by a California Highway Patrol officer in January.

The agent’s first meth purchase from Orozco-Padilla took place March 18, the complaints said. Two ounces of the drug were delivered to the agent by Lopez during a meeting in the parking lot of the Mankato Godfather’s Pizza restaurant on Tullamore Avenue.

Orozco-Padilla told the agent the delivery would be made by someone in St. James. Officers there were able to find vehicles registered to Orozco-Padilla, Camberos-Valle and Lopez parked at the house at 123 Seventh Ave. after the Mankato deal.

Another 2 ounces of meth were purchased April 10 in the parking lot of the St. James Shopko during another deal set up by the agent. About a half gram of cocaine also was part of the deal.

Other criminal complaints filed in Blue Earth County show Mankato drug task force agents paid about $100 per gram for cocaine during stings involving smaller amounts. The BCA complaints do not say how much agents were paying for the meth they were buying by the ounce. There are 28 grams in an ounce.

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