WILLMAR -- Eric Flores, 25, of Willmar, pleaded guilty Thursday to an amended third-degree drug possession charge and a felony weapons possession charge for possessing meth and a rifle when he was stopped by Willmar police in March.
As part of a plea agreement reached in Kandiyohi County District Court, the charge was reduced from second-degree. Also as part of the agreement, two additional felony charges of first-degree drugs - manufacture of methamphetamine and firearms possession, plus two misdemeanor charges, will be dismissed. He will be sentenced June 23.
The charges were filed after a Willmar police officer was on patrol around 4:30 p.m. March 14 along Willmar Avenue and observed a vehicle driven by a man he recognized as Flores. The officer suspected Flores was driving without a valid license and was wanted on a warrant. Flores waved to the officer as he passed.
The officer followed the vehicle, confirmed with dispatch that Flores was wanted on a warrant in a domestic assault case and stopped the vehicle.
The officer smelled marijuana and searched Flores and the vehicle, locating $295 in Flores' pocket, 19 grams of meth in the vehicle and an SKS assault rifle in the trunk. The officer also located a magazine of rifle ammunition and boxes of ammunition and brass knuckles in the vehicle.
Flores was arrested and taken to jail. His criminal history includes convictions for felony assault of a peace officer in October 2005, possession of a dangerous weapon in March 2006 and burglary in July 2007.