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Man held on $500,000 bail in connection with Neb. warrant


WILLMAR -- Jaser Esiongeder Lopez-Mejia, 26, of Willmar is being held in the Kandiyohi County Jail on $500,000 bail on several felony charges, including being a fugitive from justice from Nebraska, where a warrant had been issued for his arrest for a sexual assault.

He's also charged with aggravated forgery for using another person's name to get a job at Jennie-O Turkey Store.

Judge Kathryn Smith set the half-million dollar bail during a court appearance Friday morning.

Lopez-Mejia is awaiting extradition to Nebraska.

Lopez-Mejia was arrested May 12 in Willmar when he was pulled over by a Willmar police officer for having an object hanging from his rear-view mirror and for having his rear license plate covered.

At that time he told police he didn't have a driver's license but that he had an identification card from Missouri.

He was arrested, taken to the jail, processed for the driving violations and released, according to court records.

During a subsequent investigation, it was revealed Lopez-Mejia had given police a false identity and that a warrant existed for his arrest in Nebraska for a first-degree felony offense of sexual assault involving a minor.

Using information from the police from Schuyler, Neb. that Lopez-Mejia was believed to be working at Jennie-O, Willmar police went to Jennie-O on Wednesday and arrested him.

According to court files, Lopez-Mejia said he moved from Guatemala to Missouri where he obtained an identification card from a friend with that person's name on it. He reportedly worked in Nebraska before moving to Willmar to get a job at Jennie-O.

He is alleged to have forged the employment eligibility verification forms at Jennie-O using the false name.

A police report indicates Lopez-Majia admitted being in Nebraska for about four years and he told police there may have been a warrant for his arrest, but he denied knowing anything about a warrant for sexual assault.

Besides the charges he faces in Nebraska, Lopez-Mejia was charged Friday with a felony charge of being a fugitive from justice from another state. He's also charged with aggravated forgery - legal rights created/terminated - a felony, giving a police officer a false name and driving without a valid driver's license.

A public defender was appointed.

His next court appearance is set for June 7.

Carolyn Lange

A reporter for 35 years, Carolyn Lange covers regional news with the West Central Tribune.

(320) 894-9750