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Alexandria, Minn., man in drug case facing seven years in prison

WILLMAR -- Joel Gomez, 31, of Alexandria, pleaded guilty Monday to a first-degree drug possession charge for his role in selling methamphetamine to a CEE-VI Drug Task Force informant in November.

As part of a plea agreement reached in Kandiyohi County District Court, another first-degree charge for drug sale and a second-degree drug sale count will be dismissed. Gomez will be sentenced, likely to 94 months in prison, on Aug. 29.

Gomez and Elio Naranjo Infante, 44, of Pennock, were both charged in the first-degree sale case. Infante's next appearance is Oct. 29.

According to the complaint, the informant and Gomez traveled from Willmar to Pennock on Nov. 21 to purchase meth from Gomez's supplier, later identified by Gomez as Infante. After the purchase was made, their vehicle was stopped by a sheriff's deputy. An ounce of meth was located in the vehicle with a $100 bill that had previous been recorded by CEE-VI agents.

Gomez was arrested and 28.5 grams of meth were located in his possession. He has a prior conviction for third-degree drug possession in 2006.

Agents also served a search warrant on Infante's residence, along First Street North, and located 5.4 grams of meth hidden inside a roll of paper towels. The search also revealed $2,600 in cash stashed inside a wall in a cabinet, numerous pieces of surveillance equipment and 18.4 grams of marijuana and paraphernalia.

According to the complaint on the second-degree charge, the informant arranged to buy 7 grams of meth from Gomez on Nov. 16, 2011, with another man meeting the informant, providing the drugs and taking $500 at a residence in the northwest quadrant of the city.

The informant handed over the drugs to task force agents, identified Gomez and the other man in photo lineups and also turned over text message regarding the sale.

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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