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Two Willmar, Minn., men in court on felony charges

BWILLMAR — Luis Ariel Hernandez, 31, and Cristian Vergana-Arellano, 19, both of Willmar, made their first court appearance Thursday on felony charges of receiving stolen property and possession of a short-barreled shotgun for stolen items and a illegally modified shotgun found during a search of a Regency West home.

Unconditional bail was set at $75,000 for each of the men, who also each face a gross misdemeanor charge for possessing a pistol or assault weapon as well as use of controlled substance and petty misdemeanor charges of marijuana and drug paraphernalia possession.

Vergana-Arellano’s next appearance in Kandiyohi County District Court is set for Monday.

Hernandez’s next court date is April 2.

The men and Paul Avery Leal, 17, of Willmar, were charged after CEE-VI Drug Task Force agents served a search warrant Tuesday morning at the Willmar trailer park.

Leal faces a felony charge of receiving stolen property, plus petty misdemeanor charges for marijuana and drug paraphernalia possession. His next appearance is Feb. 20.

Felony charges against 16- and 17-year-olds are public record.

According to the complaints against the adults, two guns, including a Remington 870 Express 20-gauge shotgun and a Marlin Model 200 single shot shotgun were located in the home. The Remington shotgun was identified as items taken in a Jan. 11 burglary reported in the county. The Marlin had both its barrel and stock shortened, with the barrel measuring 13 inches.

Officers also located knives and rings, which were also discovered to be stolen property, along with drug paraphernalia and 26 grams of marijuana, a stolen iPhone, marijuana growing equipment and shotgun shells in the house.

Vergara-Arellano was interviewed and claimed he knew nothing about the guns. Leal told officers that Vergara-Arellano was the person who brought the guns to the house.

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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