Neighbors’ complaints about a constant flow of visitors and a slamming door resulted in the arrest of at least four people accused of conspiring to sell crack cocaine in Mankato.
Tenants living at the apartment building in the 500 block of Belle Avenue, which is behind Buster’s Sports Bar and the Mankato Design Center, had been complaining to the manager about late-night visitors at one of the apartments. They said visitors would slam the door, so it was easy to determine which apartment it was, and would only stay for a few minutes before leaving.
An agent with the Minnesota River Valley Drug Task Force gathered information from the apartment manager for about two weeks. The information included the license plate of an SUV that was frequently in the parking lot when people were visiting the apartment.
The vehicle was one that the agent recognized. He knew it was driven by 28-year-old Anthony Pierre Atkins of Bloomington, according to a criminal complaint filed in Blue Earth County District Court Friday. Atkins was one of at least four people arrested when investigators executed a search warrant at the apartment at about 9:30 p.m. Wednesday.
A police dog trained to identify drugs was used to sniff the exterior of the apartment while no one was home, the complaint said. Three apartment doors were checked and the dog alerted on the apartment that tenants had been complaining about.
Investigators also watched the apartment Wednesday afternoon. They reported seeing Atkins going in and out of the apartment with the apartment’s tenant, 29-year-old Latrice Marie Franklin, and several men.
That information was used to justify the search.
Atkins, Franklin and 24-year-old Jarvis Macell Dotson of Mankato were in the apartment when it was searched. Task force agents reported recovering 16 grams, or more than a half ounce, of crack cocaine and a large amount of cash. Dotson was allegedly sitting at a kitchen table with some of the cocaine and appeared to be packaging it into small bags, the complaint said.
Atkins’ SUV was not at the apartment at the time of the search, but it arrived as investigators were preparing to leave. An agent recognized the person driving the vehicle as someone who had been entering the apartment earlier in the day. The vehicle was stopped and 28-year-old Turis Tyrone Dotson of Clarksdale, Miss., was arrested.
Several small bags of crack cocaine, weighing a total of more than 3 grams, were found in Turis Dotson’s pocket, the complaint said. About $600 in cash also was confiscated from him.
During interviews, Juris Dotson allegedly told investigators he had been selling half-gram packages of cocaine for $30 or $40 each in Mankato for about four months. He said he had made several trips to the Twin Cities to get the drugs, the complaint said.
All four suspects were charged Friday with felony first-degree conspiracy to sell cocaine.