Two men charged for synthetic pot, shipment intercepted at Willmar, Minn., post office
WILLMAR — Two Willmar men made their first court appearances Wednesday on felony charges for synthetic cannabinoid for allegedly ordering 2.8 pounds of the substance on the Internet and receiving the shipment of more than 300 ready-to-sell packets at the Willmar post office.
Unconditional bail was set at $10,000 each for Andrew Lee Gomez, 25, and Derek Bergen Ellingson, 23. Their next appearances are Sept. 9 in Kandiyohi County District Court.
According to the complaints, CEE-VI Drug Task Force agents received information on July 22 from an informant who said Gomez had purchased $1,500 worth of synthetic cannabinoid from a person in Florida and that Ellingson was to pick up the drug shipment at the local post office. The person also gave agents the tracking number of the package.
Postal inspectors received a federal search warrant and met local agents at the post office on July 29, when the package was received. The tracking number matched that given by the informant and when the officials opened the box, they found smaller packages inside the box. The substance was tested and determined to be synthetic cannabinoid.
A postal clerk informed the agents and inspectors that Ellingson had already been to the post office looking for the package and had been sent to get the tracking number. He returned later, received the package and was promptly arrested as he exited the building.
In an interview at the Law Enforcement Center, Ellingson told investigators that there were 375 smaller packages in the box, said the shipment cost $1,500 and that he had picked up the package on Gomez's behalf. He also said he and Gomez had searched the Internet and ordered the shipment from a website and that Gomez had made similar purchases four times in the past four months.
Ellingson also provided agents with the names of people who were already lined up to deliver the synthetic cannabinoid. The agents counted 326 packages, each weighing four grams, for a total of 1,304 grams, 2.87 pounds, of the substance.