WILLMAR -- Tony Gerrero Jr., 19, of Willmar, pleaded guilty Thursday to a third-degree drug sale for selling methamphetamine to CEE-VI Drug Task Force agents on multiple occasions last fall and to a fifth-degree drug possession charge for possessing narcotic pain pills while he was attempting to swindle agents in a bogus drug deal in March.
Gerrero also pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor theft charge, which was reduced from a felony check forgery charge, for stealing a check intended for a relative and cashing the check at a local store.
As part of a plea agreement reached in Kandiyohi County District Court, another check forgery charge and a misdemeanor for theft by swindle will be dismissed. The third-degree sale charge was lowered from first-degree level. He will be sentenced Jan. 31.
The drug sale charge was filed after Gerrero sold informants a total of 13.9 grams of meth-amphetamine be-tween Oct. 27 and Dec. 13, 2011. The five separate deals included sales that occurred in vehicles in the area of 10th Street and Minnesota Avenue Southwest, with one of the sales completed in a church parking lot at the corner of 12th Street and Kandiyohi Avenue Southwest.
The drug possession and swindle charges were filed after March 27, when Gerrero informed a drug task force agent that he could purchase 10 pills for $40. He was set up as an informant and given drug task force funds that were recorded. While he was under surveillance by agents, Gerrero parked his vehicle along 15th Avenue Southwest and went behind a building used by the cemetery there. The agents didn't see anyone else in the area and noted that it was unlikely someone could walk through the thick foliage behind the building.
Gerrero later turned over 10 pills of acetaminophen with codeine and claimed a man named "Johnny" sold him the pills. When he was questioned, with the agents noting that they saw no one else at the site of the sale, he removed the $40 from his sock and admitted to planting the drugs at the location. The money was identified as the previously recorded bills.
The check forgery charges were filed after July 24, when Willmar police were notified by Coborns Inc. that a check had been cashed at the Cash Wise Foods store in Willmar on a Hormel account. The investigation revealed that a man never received a check for workers' compensation from Hormel Foods and was issued another check. Gerrero admitted he took the first check, for $478.97, and cashed it at the store.