The Free Press, Mankato, MN

February 24, 2013

Phone video used to file gun charges

By Dan Nienaber
Free Press Staff Writer

MANKATO — A suspected Mankato cocaine distributor, who was arrested in December after he was caught with what police allege was about 3 ounces of cocaine, has been arrested again for evidence found on a cellphone he had with him.

Devin Deon Taylor, 23, was released from the Steele County Jail on Feb. 12 after posting a non-cash bond worth $25,000. He was arrested again Wednesday and taken to the Blue Earth County Jail after being charged with being a felon in possession of a firearm for a Sept. 30 incident.

Investigators were using a GPS device to track Taylor when he allegedly drove to Rochester to make a cocaine pick up Dec. 1. When he was stopped by a state trooper near Owatonna while on his way back from Rochester, investigators reported finding about 91 grams of cocaine.

A cellphone also was confiscated. It allegedly had a video showing Taylor and another man, 23-year-old Kenneth Deonte Jarrard Cribbs, shooting high-caliber semi-automatic handguns. They were able to use information on the phone to determine the video had been created Sept. 30.

The phone also contained photographs of Taylor holding between $5,000 and $10,000 in cash and making hand signs that investigators suspect are gang related. A Minnesota River Valley Drug Task Force agent described the hand signs as being associated with the Gangster Disciples, the criminal complaint said.

When Cribbs was interviewed by the agent, he allegedly said the guns were real. Cribbs said he bought the guns from another man, who agents previously said has ties to a Chicago gang, for $600, according to the complaint. He also told the agent the place they were shooting was on private property near Madison Lake.

Investigators talked to the woman Cribbs said drove them to the property. They were able to determine where it was and reported finding many spent casings. After learning the ammunition had been purchased at Gander Mountain, they also found surveillance video showing Taylor, Cribbs, the woman who drove and another woman in the store the same day the phone video was created, the complaint said.

Taylor and Cribbs, who both have prior drug convictions, have been charged with two counts of being felons in possession of a firearm. Taylor also is facing charges for drug paraphernalia that was allegedly found in his Mankato hotel room, which was searched immediately after he was arrested in Owatonna in December.

Cribbs is in prison. He pleaded guilty to several drug-related charges in Nicollet and Blue Earth counties earlier this month, including charges stemming from selling cocaine and synthetic marijuana. He is currently scheduled to be released in December 2014.