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Drug charges dismissed against Litchfield woman for New Year's incident; local man not so lucky

WILLMAR -- Two first-degree drug possession and sale charges against Vanessa Ramirez, 23, of Litchfield, have been dismissed for lack of probable cause.

The charges, in Kandiyohi County District Court, were dismissed May 24 in an omnibus order by Judge Michael J. Thompson. In the order, the judge noted that the only evidence against Ramirez was the presence of 51 grams of meth in a backpack in the vehicle in which she was riding and $2,000 in cash in her purse. "Without something to indicate that she had a connection to the drugs, there is insufficient evidence to support the charge," the order stated.

The judge noted in the order that there was a significant connection between the drugs found in the vehicle and Lance Joel Cameron, 27, of Willmar, who still faces the same two first-degree charges.

In an order in Cameron's case, Thompson denied a motion by Cameron's attorney to suppress the evidence of the meth because the vehicle was allegedly improperly searched by Willmar police before it was towed.

Cameron also faces a gross misdemeanor charge for driving after cancellation -- inimical to public safety. His next court date has not been set.

The charges were filed after Dec. 31, when a Willmar police officer was on patrol and observed a vehicle he recognized as belonging to Cameron, whom the officer had previously arrested for driving after cancellation -- inimical to public safety.

The officer turned his squad car around and followed the vehicle, which turned onto a side street and spun out, coming to a stop in a snow bank. The officer checked the status of the passenger -- identified as Ramirez -- and then located Cameron nearby. Cameron ran from the officer. A stun gun was required to arrest him. Upon searching him, officers discovered Cameron was in possession of a gram of meth and $1,928 in cash.

The vehicle was searched and officers found a total of 51 grams of meth inside multiple bags in a backpack. Also located was a scale and glass pipe with white residue.

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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