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Teen sentenced to probation for receiving pot in the mail

WILLMAR -- Vanessa Marie Garza, 19, of Willmar, was sentenced Monday to five years of probation, a $1,000 fine and 30 days in the county jail on a fifth-degree drug possession charge for her role in receiving more than 10 pounds of marijuana in the mail in September.

As part of her sentence handed down in Kandiyohi County District Court, Garza was ordered to submit to a chemical dependency evaluation, follow its recommendations, use no drugs or alcohol and make an effort toward earning her high school diploma.

As part of a plea agreement, another fifth-degree drug charge was dismissed and she received a stay of adjudication.

Under a stay of adjudication, no conviction will appear on her record if she successfully completes terms of her sentence.

Garza and Ana Patricia Gutierrez, 27, were charged after a CEE-VI Drug Task Force agent received information Sept. 23 from a U.S. Postal Service inspector that two suspicious packages, addressed to two Willmar residences, were suspected of containing slightly more than 10 pounds of marijuana.

Gutierrez has also pleaded guilty to one fifth-degree drug charge and will be sentenced Dec. 14.

The postal inspector delivered the first package to a home where Gutierrez signed for one and put it into a vehicle in the driveway.

Later, she and Garza drove and were stopped by Willmar police.

A search of Gutierrez's purse revealed receipts for money orders for $450 and $700 and a slip of paper containing the Express Mail tracking numbers for the packages. The second package was also delivered to another address.

Search warrants were served on both homes. At the second address, a woman said that Garza had called about receiving the package, which was located in a bedroom.

At the first address, officers located another money order receipt for $250. Both women were arrested.

Gretchen Schlosser

Gretchen Schlosser is the public safety reporter, and writes about agriculture occasionally, for the West Central Tribune. She's been with the Tribune since 2006 and has 17 years of experience working in news, media and communications. 

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