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Willmar man, 25, faces drug and firearms charges after traffic stop Sunday afternoon

WILLMAR -- A 25-year-old Willmar man made his first court appearance Tuesday on felony drug and weapons charges for allegedly possessing meth and an assault rifle when he was stopped by police Sunday afternoon.

In Kandiyohi County District Court, Eric Flores faces charges for first-degree drugs - manufacture of methamphetamine, second-degree drug possession, and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, plus misdemeanor charges of possession of dangerous weapons and driving after revocation.

Unconditional bail was set at $300,000. His next appearance is April 8.

According to the complaint, a Willmar police officer was on patrol around 4:30 p.m. Sunday 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 allegedly 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 his 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.

He allegedly told officers the meth, the rifle and brass knuckles belonged to him, that he'd manufactured the meth and bought the rifle in South Dakota for protection and wanted to target shoot with it.

He said he'd manufactured meth in his car, but stopped that practice. He claimed the meth was for his personal use.

Flores' 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.

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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