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news Willmar, 56201
West Central Tribune
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Willmar Minnesota 2208 Trott Ave. SW / P.O. Box 839 56201

This is the records summary for Jan. 17.

Crash involving snow plow injures Cosmos man

LITCHFIELD –– A 25-year-old Cosmos man was injured Wednesday when the vehicle he was driving collided with a snow plow.

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Blowing snow and poor visibility is being blamed for the accident, which happened around 4:30 p.m. Wednesday on State Highway 4 and 160th Street in Cosmos Township.

According to the Meeker County Sheriff’s Office, Dwayne Anderson was driving north on Highway 4 and was unable to see a snowplow traveling in front of him because of poor visibility caused by blowing snow.

Anderson swerved in an attempt to avoid rear-ending the snowplow, but his vehicle struck the side wing of the snowplow and rolled.

Anderson was transported by a private vehicle to the Hutchinson Hospital for treatment of non-life threatening injuries.

The snowplow, which is owned by the Minnesota Department of Transportation, was operated by Scott Powell, 53, of Hutchinson. Powell was not injured.

The Minnesota State Patrol is investigating the crash.

Arrests

WILLMAR — A 22-year-old woman was arrested on charges of domestic and fifth-degree assault around 3:40 p.m. Wednesday along the 1400 block of Fifth Street Southwest.

Theft

WILLMAR — The theft of shoes was reported around 9:50 p.m. Wednesday along the 500 block of 16th Street Southwest.

District Court, Kandiyohi County

- Mariah Shanlee Koenen, 19, of Willmar, pleaded guilty Thursday to two third-degree drug sale charges for her role in selling methamphetamine to a CEE-VI Drug Task Force informant.

As part of a plea agreement, another third-degree count in the Kandiyohi County case and a third-degree sale charge in Swift County will be dismissed. She will be sentenced Feb. 21.

Koenen was one of three people charged in the case. Mitchell Edward Bane, 20, of Willmar, faces two counts of third-degree drug sale. His next appearance is Feb. 10. Dameon Alonzo Taylor, 34, of Willmar, has a warrant for his arrest.

The charges were filed after an informant purchased 0.9 grams of meth from the trio June 25 in a parking lot at the Willow Run Apartment complex in Willmar. The informant also told law enforcement officers that Koenen was carrying a 2- to 3-month-old infant during the drug deal.

On July 3, the informant purchased 0.4 grams of meth from Taylor and Bane at the same location.

On Aug. 14, the informant purchased 1 gram of meth in the parking lot of the Willmar McDonalds restaurant, with Taylor arranging the sale, and Koenen delivering the drugs and accepting payment.

n Heather Nicole Shank, 33, of Willmar, pleaded guilty Thursday to a fifth-degree drug possession charge.

As part of a plea agreement, another felony, for storing methamphetamine paraphernalia in the presence of a child, will be dismissed. She will be sentenced Feb. 27.

Shank is one of three people charged in the case. Troy Allen Miller, 45, of Willmar, makes his next appearance on Feb. 13. Gilbert Lee Torres Jr., 29, makes his next appearance on Feb. 20.

The charges were filed after CEE-VI Drug Task Force agents served a search warrant on Oct. 3 and found all three defendants at the home, along with marijuana and multiple pieces of paraphernalia, including pipes and snort tubes that tested positive for meth. Also located in a purse were Alprazolam pills.

During interviews with agents, Miller said a 9-year-old child lives at the home and that he smokes marijuana in the garage. Shank claimed the purse, but denied there was a meth snort tube in the handbag.

- Jaime Cisneros-Pizarro, 21, of Willmar, pleaded guilty Wednesday to a felony theft charge for stealing $680 in cash from the CEE-VI Drug Task Force last January.

As part of a plea agreement, two fifth-degree drug possession charges will be dismissed. He will be sentenced March 3.

Cisneros-Pizarro and and Maritza Ocampo, 22, of Willmar, were charged in the case. Ocampo pleaded guilty in November to a misdemeanor theft charge and was sentenced to a year of probation, a $50 fine and 10 days in jail, which was stayed.

The charges were filed after Cisneros-Pizarro set up a drug buy on Jan. 2, 2013, acting as an informant. Task force agents fitted him with a recording device and gave him $500 in task force funds to buy cocaine. He entered an apartment building while agents waited and returned with a baggie containing white powder and $20 in change. The agents paid him $200.

When agents later tested the white powder, it did not test positive for cocaine, according to the complaint. When they listened to the recording device, there was little talking and no indication that a drug transaction had been made.

When agents viewed a surveillance video from the apartment building, they saw Cisneros-Pizarro go into a laundry room and speak with a woman, later identified as Ocampo, according to the complaint. He then left the building, and she returned to an apartment.

When investigators knocked on the apartment door, Ocampo admitted that she lived there with Cisneros-Pizarro, who was her boyfriend, and that they had been having money problems. She told investigators that she had watched Cisneros-Pizarro mix a powdery substance and put it in a baggie and that they had used the cash for personal items.

Ocampo also gave permission for a search of the apartment. During the search, a wallet containing a very small amount of cocaine and Cisneros-Pizarro’s identification was found, as well as a glass pipe that tested positive for the presence of methamphetamine.

- Omar Escalante, 23, of Renville, pleaded guilty Wednesday to a felony charge of aggravated forgery for using his twin brother’s name when he was booked into the county jail.

As part of a plea agreement, another felony charge, for offering a forged check, will be dismissed. He will be sentenced Jan. 31.

Escalante is one of four people charged in the forgery case. Stanley Gutierrez, 23, of St. Cloud, faces two felonies for check forgery. His next appearance is Jan. 29. Samuel Lee Berends, 21, is charged with one felony for check forgery. His next appearance is March 10 Oscar Escalante, 23, of Renville, faces one felony for check forgery and has a warrant for his arrest.

According to the complaint, the investigation began when Renville police reported to Willmar police that a Renville man had reported checks forged on his account had been cashed at two Willmar businesses. Escalante was identified as one of four people who had forged a total of $5,150 on checks between Oct. 5 and 13.

According to the aggravated forgery complaint, Omar Escalante was arrested and booked into the Kandiyohi County Jail on July 5. He gave his twin brother’s name, that of Oscar Escalante, during the booking process and signed a release form in his brother’s name.

Omar was arrested again on Sept. 19, and again booked into the county jail, but this time he gave his real name, that of Omar Escalante. Booking photos from both incidents show a man with a distinctive neck tattoo.

Investigators interviewed Oscar Escalante and determined that he was in Texas on July 5 and confirmed that he doesn’t have a neck tattoo.

- Jesse Ryan Gussisberg, 34, of Maynard, pleaded guilty Thursday to a felony charge of possession of a pistol or assault weapon by a person convicted of a violent crime

As part of a plea agreement, another felony count will be dismissed. He will be sentenced Feb. 20.

The charges were filed after May 11, when two Kandiyohi County Sheriff’s deputies were informed of a suspicious vehicle along 120th Avenue Northwest in Pennock. The person reporting the incident said there was a hunting rifle in the vehicle and gave an Indiana license plate.

 One of the deputies located the vehicle along 114th Street near 105th Street Northeast, finding Gussisberg in the driver’s seat, and a woman and child in the vehicle. There was a loaded rifle between the front seats and .22-caliber shell casings in the gravel roadway.

Gussisberg admitted to taking the gun from a relative’s home and that he was responsible for it being uncased and loaded in the car.

He has prior convictions for third-degree controlled substance in 2002 and third-degree burglary in 2003. Both convictions make him ineligible to possess or transport firearms.

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