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Teen pleads not guilty to weapons charge, drug count for stolen gun, khat in vehicle

WILLMAR -- A 16-year-old Willmar boy pleaded not guilty Monday to three felony charges for allegedly possessing a stolen pistol and khat that were found in a vehicle searched Friday afternoon by CEE-VI Drug Task Force agents.

Simon Torres III entered the pleas to charges of receiving stolen property, fourth-degree drug possession with intent to sell and possession of a pistol or assault weapon by a minor in Kandiyohi County District Court. His next hearing is July 5.

Felony matters against 16- and 17-year-old defendants are public record.

According to the petition, CEE-VI agents were on patrol around 4 p.m. Friday in the city and smelled the distinct odor of burning marijuana from the vehicle in front of them. The officers followed the sport utility vehicle and stopped it, for crossing the center line, along Fifth Street Southwest near the intersection of 15th Avenue Southwest.

The driver and three occupants, including Torres, were removed and the vehicle searched. Officers located a bag that contained 29.1 grams of Khat, brass knuckles, a marijuana pipe, a digital scale and a Ruger .327 handgun. Torres claimed the bag and one of the passengers told officers that he brought the bag with him into the vehicle.

The gun was reported as stolen from Zero Tolerance Guns in Willmar.

Torres allegedly told officers that he'd found the khat and handgun in Rice Park on June 17 and was trying to sell the gun for $200.

Torres also pleaded not guilty to a felony charge of fifth-degree drug possession and a petty misdemeanor for possession of a small amount of marijuana for drugs found in a vehicle stopped on May 17 by a Kandiyohi County Sheriff's deputy on patrol along First Street in Willmar.

According to that petition, the vehicle was stopped because it was operating without headlights and the deputy observed drugs and drug paraphernalia in the car. Torres claimed the items, including 26.5 grams of marijuana, when interviewed by investigators.

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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