The Free Press, Mankato, MN

Local News

December 2, 2008

Nearly 30 pounds of pot seized in bust

MANKATO — A father and son from California were arrested with five suitcases filled with marijuana at a Mankato hotel.

Authorities received an anonymous tip that the men were in Mankato to sell about 28 pounds of marijuana with a street value of about $100,000.

They arrived Wednesday and got a room at the Holiday Inn. After monitoring them, officers were seeking a search warrant Saturday when the two left the hotel by car. They were stopped a few blocks away and arrested without incident.

Members of the Minnesota River Valley Drug Task Force searched two hotel rooms, shortly before 7 p.m., where they found the suitcases filled with freezer-sealed bags of marijuana. Police say the bags are sealed to try to cover the scent of the marijuana.

Arrested were Timothy Ray Mast, 29, of McKinleyville, Calif., and Mark Ray Mast, 50, of Petrolia, Calif. They face felony third-degree controlled substance charges, which carry a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison and up to $250,000 in fines.

Mankato Department of Public Safety officer John Judd, also a member of the task force, said California dealers are looking outside their state because of the medical marijuana law. The law allows people there to grow marijuana for personal medical use. The law, Judd said, has produced an abundance of marijuana in California, depressing the market for illegal sales.

“They came to Minnesota because they were having so much trouble selling it there,” he said.

Judd said the two likely grew the marijuana themselves and had dealers lined up in Mankato to buy it.

No weapons or cash were found. The pair’s 1989 Buick Park Avenue was seized.

Assisting in the arrests and investigation were the Mankato Department of Public Safety, Blue Earth County Sheriff’s Department, the State Patrol and the Mapleton Police Department, which brought in its drug-sniffing dog.

“This is a big amount of marijuana for us to get in our area,” said Police Cmdr. Amy Vokal.

The last marijuana bust that rivaled it was about two years ago.

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